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PHOTO — A portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. on display at the First Congregational Church of West Haven. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
WEST HAVEN, Jan. 18, 2021 — The city is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a virtual ceremony now airing on West Haven’s YouTube channel.
The program commemorates the enduring legacy of King, who inspired a national movement in the 1960s and steered Black Americans in the struggle for civil rights.
Held at the First Congregational Church on the Green, West Haven’s moving tribute of song, prayer and reflection features remarks by Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz. It includes a reading of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by West Haven High School senior Josh Ofori-Attah and a tour de force performance by Ashli James of “We Shall Overcome,” a gospel song that became a protest song and key anthem of the civil rights movement.
The event also includes remarks by Rossi’s executive assistant, Louis P. Esposito Jr., the master of ceremonies; Carroll E. Brown, the president and founder of the West Haven Black Coalition; 7th District Councilwoman Treneé McGee; Planning and Zoning Commissioner Steven R. Mullins; Assistant Chief Anthony Campbell of the Yale University Police Department; and the Rev. E. Carl Howard of the First Congregational Church.
James also sings the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and Howard gives the invocation and benediction.
Watch the 42-minute ceremony on West Haven YouTube.
A portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. on display at the First Congregational Church of West Haven. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)