MLK Day 2020

African-American Heritage Walking Tour

Our friends at the the David Ruggles Center in Florence will begin the morning at 10:00AM at the Sojourner Truth Statue for the Afro-American Walking Tour lead by Steve Strimmer. Coffee and hot chocolate will be provided!

Social Justice Workshops, 12 noon, Edwards Church

Social justice community workshops will by lead by local activist groups. Workshops will take place at Edwards Church and will each be an hour long, from 12:00pm-1:00pm and then 1:00pm-2:00pm. Here is a complete list of workshops & descriptions:


Housing & Foreclosures in the Edwards Room with Springfield No One Leaves. Learn how we’re organizing Tenants, homeowners and tenants living in foreclosed homes.

Stop Recruiting Kids! in the Sanctuary (12-12:30PM) with The Resistance Center. After No Child Left Behind was passed in 2001, military recruiters got more access to student information than ever before. We will discuss the laws, the lies, and the reality of recruiters in schools, as well as the presence of recruiters in Western Mass schools.

Community Ride Program in the Sanctuary (12:30-1PM) with The Resistance Center & ACLU’s Immigrant Protection Project. We work with folks who don’t have reliable access to transportation to get from important appointments necessary to dealing with immigration status. We rely upon community members who can provide transportation. Learn how you can get involved.

XR, Climate Justice, & Listening Partnerships in the Addis Room with Extinction Rebellion & Climate Action Now. This will be a collaborative space. We will do a short presentation about XR and CAN’s work in the valley, our perspective on climate justice work, and then will divide into small groups for listening partnerships and time for participants to share their perspectives on these topics.

Martin Luther King & Socialism in the U.S. in the Heritage Room Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America. Towards the end of his life, MLK started connecting civil rights struggles with those of labor unions and the anti war movement. We will discuss MLK’s views on socialism and anti imperialism, and apply them to the ongoing work of the Pioneer Valley DSA.


Parole Reform in Massachusetts (1-1:30PM) in the Sanctuary with Project Operation Change. The culture of parole release is often described as an abusive relationship between a person on parole release, their officer, and the administrative body. The PO’s discretion creates an interpersonal dynamic of domination that is enabled, enforced, and established by the punitive/criminal justice system. Learn about local efforts to make this system more just.

Our Time to Rise: Fighting for a Green New Deal in Western Mass in the Addis Room with the Sunrise Movement. Come hear from youth and young people across the valley that are coming together around the vision of a Green New Deal.  We’ll share our plans to tackle climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process and how you can get plugged into the movement.

U.S. Regime Change in Venezuela in the Heritage Room with the Latin America Solidarity Coalition of Western Mass. Please join us for a showing of a short documentary film Venezuelans Under Siege and a discussion with the film’s co-director, UMass Amherst history professor Kevin Young. Venezuelans Under Siege documents the impacts of the sanctions plus the ways that ordinary Venezuelans are organizing to survive the crisis and to build new institutions of participatory socialism.

Palestine 2019 and Looking Ahead in the Edwards Room with the Middle East Peace and Justice Coalition. Two American activists visited Palestine last July, one for the first time and one for the 16th time. This workshop will be their reflections embedded in history and in stories from today, leaving time for Q&A.

Convocation, 2pm, Edwards Church

At 2:00pm in Edwards Church, we will conclude our celebration with live music and hear from keynote speaker Dr. Alimcar Shabazz about MLK’s legacy today. We will then be joined by U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern for further remarks.