Since January 1999 or so, a group of singers, sometimes complemented by poets, have offered an annual Remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Capitol Hill. The idea for the Remembrance came from the brain of Alvin Mayes, who at the time was a singer in the Lesbian & Gay Chorus of Washington, D.C. (now no longer in existence.) Mayes offered that “The purpose of the Remembrance was to gather people of different races, ages, and cultures to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.” Mayes’ idea resonated with many different groups and people and has taken on a life of its own. It lives in this year’s Remembrance which will take place post-inauguration on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. The concert begins at 7 and runs for about an hour and half without intermission. The concert will be interpreted for the deaf by Mindy Lanie. Admission is free and everyone is invited; however, there will be a free-will offering in support of the work of the Bokamoso Youth Centre. Support for the Remembrance comes from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.
The Remembrance has been variously produced by the Lesbian & Gay Chorus of Washington and the GLBT Arts Consortium. This year, CHAW is proud to be producing the concert for the community. Pamela Jafari is the MC for the concert. Performing this year: Nuance, Washington Youth Choir, Not What You Think, Jubilee Singers of All Souls Unitarian Church, and, back by strong popular demand, the inspiring youth performers from the Bokamoso Youth Centre in Winterfeldt, South Africa. The Bokamoso youth will talk and sing about their challenges and dreams. The Centre offers essential services to young South Africans, including: skills training, mentorship for AIDS awareness, conflict management, and life skills. Each year, 12 of the students in the Centre’s performing arts program receive scholarships for a month-long exchange and performance tour in America. The exchange helps to raise funds to keep the Centre’s programs alive.
The arts are the most powerful tool in the fight for social justice because they unveil our common humanity and help us connect with each other. It seems completely fitting to use song and poetry to remember the man who believed that no one is free until everyone is free. We have some work left to do but, fortunately, the arts can help us on our path. Please join us on January 22nd at 7 PM.
Remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church
4th and Independence Avenue SE
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 7 PM
Jill Strachan, CHAW Executive Director