2022 MLK Day Events
The Town of Brookline MLK Celebration Committee presents:
A Family Revealed: From Slavery to Hope
(Recording available below)
An afternoon of engaging music and conversation, A Family Revealed: From Slavery to Hope, Two descendants of a Confederate enslaver shared their story, featured folk singer and social activist Reggie Harris and longtime Brookline educator and resident Wallis Raemer. Onstage, the two cousins, one black and one white, discussed their special journey and what it was like to discover each other’s deeply held feelings, pain, and hope. To underscore their messages and experience, Reggie Harris, a prominent interpreter of the use of music in historical movements for social change, sung his stirring, original songs.
Ms. Raemer, who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, thought it was cool to have a statue of her great-great-great grandfather, Willams Carter Wickham, in the center of town. But as she grew older she changed her mind-- especially after meeting Reggie Harris, who also is a descendant of the same Confederate general but by way of Bibanna Hewlett, one of the 275 people that he enslaved.
For Mr. Harris, a wonderfully gifted folksinger and educator, the statue was painful reminder of the abuse his family suffered and the refusal of America to fully acknowledge its past.
After the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017 Wallis and some members of her family wrote a letter to the city requesting that the statue be removed. But it remained until protesters dragged it down with a rope.
This is real history and it’s complicated. But Reggie and Wallis are facing it by talking it out and through music. They’ve shared their journey on CNN, in a recent film, in schools and in an article in The New York Times.
Onstage at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, through music and in conversation with the audience, they discussed what it’s like to discover each other’s deeply held feelings and pain. You will not want to miss Reggie Harris’s stirring voice, vibrant guitar playing and original songs that underscore their message of hope.
For reasonable accommodations, please contact Sarah Kaplan, ADA Coordinator, Town of Brookline at 617-730-2329 or [email protected]. ASL interpretation services will be provided. Coolidge Corner Theatre is accessible.
Sponsored by the Town of Brookline Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations and supported by a generous grant from the Brookline Community Foundation. We are especially grateful to the Coolidge Corner Theatre for the donation of the use of the main theater and for video recording provided by BIG, Brookline Interactive Group.
For more information about the event, please contact: Rob Daves, 617-285-1113 or [email protected].
2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Event
Brookline's Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee celebrated the life and values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 17, 2022. This year the event was virtual. This year's event was generously sponsored by the Brookline Community Foundation, the Brookline Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations, as well as a generous donation of production work from the team at Brookline Interactive Group (BIG).
"Our Voting Rights: The Struggle Continues "
This year's program featured Professor Robert L. Tsai as the Keynote Speaker. Robert L. Tsai is Professor of Law at Boston University and an expert in constitutional law and history. He reminded us of Dr. King’s focus on voting rights and challenged us to keep up the effort. Professor Robert L. Tsai is the author of three books, including Practical Equality: Forging Justice in a Divided Nation (Norton 2020). He has appeared on Meet the Press, Morning Joe, and ABC News and his essays can be found in New York Review of Books, Politico, Washington Post, and Boston Globe. You can learn more about him on Professor Robert L. Tsai's website.
The program also featured an original poetry performance of "Assume the Position" from Literary Performer and Author, Regie Gibson, and a poetry reading from Brookline Poet Laureate, Jennifer C. Barber, as well as a video compilation of Remote Learning Academy students reading their winning submissions of a collaborative contest held in March 2020. Rabbi William Hamilton from Congregation Kehillath Israel described the special Brookline history of Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Heschel and Representative Jake Auchincloss ended the program with an update on Voting Rights legislation.
For information on the program or about the MLK Celebration Committee, please contact Caitlin Starr at [email protected] or at 617-730-2345.