~ Submitted by Bedford Embraces Diversity
A nationally-known artist and a panel of METCO parents will highlight the fifth Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance, sponsored by Bedford Embraces Diversity.
There are also two community service projects planned, consistent with the intent of the national commemoration when it was approved in 1983.
This will be the second virtual event, and it is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Monday, Jan. 17. To obtain a link to the Zoom program, write to [email protected].
Opening the event will be Regie Gibson of Lexington, a poet, songwriter, author, workshop facilitator, and educator who has been teaching and performing for the past generation.
A native of Chicago, Gibson won the National Poetry Slam in 1998. His resume is wide-ranging – from performing in dramatic and poetic adaptations and co-producing a play to writing an award-winning full-length book of poetry and founding a literary and musical arts ensemble. His work has been published in anthologies, magazines, and journals
Gibson received a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from New England College, and continues to facilitate creative writing workshops, performances, and literary curricula for high schools and colleges across the United States.
Bedford Embraces Diversity and the Bedford schools’ Parents Diversity Council are working with Akil Mondesir, METCO director for the Bedford schools, to assemble a panel of current and former METCO parents who represent a range of student ages and experiences.
Mondesir, who is also the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion coordinator, is a 1998 BHS METCO graduate who now has a child in the Bedford program.
The question-and-answer format will allow exploration of the families’ assessment of the strengths of the program in Bedford and what could be improved, as well as ways in which local residents can learn from their fellow students and families from Boston.
One of the community service pieces is a collaboration involving Bedford Embraces Diversity, the Rotary Club of Bedford, and the Council on Aging.
Volunteers will be available to perform at no cost small, helpful household tasks for older residents – making minor home repairs, changing light bulbs, moving light objects around the house, or running errands.
There will be a sign-up sheet managed by Council on Aging staff and made available to COA members in early January. Bedford Embraces Diversity and Rotary organizers will match up Bedford volunteers with the requests.
There also will be a collection of items to support the Bedford Food Bank. Bins will be available between Jan. 15 and 23 for donations of things like antiperspirant, shampoo, toilet paper. paper towels, laundry detergent tabs, socks for men and women, Clorox wipes, and diapers.
There are also Amazon links through which donors can send items directly to the food bank, through the town Health and Human Services Department. The links are https://a.co/cRDFKGF or https://a.co/eY30EQP .
Bedford Embraces Diversity acknowledges grants it receives to support the commemorative program from the Bedford Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.