A Day of Service and Celebration in Honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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For Immediate Release
January 11, 2012
Released By:
Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment
For More Information Contact:
Ryan McMahon

The Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events, the Museum of African American History and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) will present a free tribute concert in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 16, 2012, at 1:00pm at Faneuil Hall.  The program will feature a moving selection of classical music, spirituals and freedom songs performed by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Intensive Community Program, conducted by Marta Zurad.    


“Once again, the City of Boston is privileged to work with both the Museum of African American History and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for its 4th annual Day of Service and Celebration. Dr. King’s message of justice and peace is still as relevant today as it was during the Civil Rights Movement. What better way to honor this iconic civil rights leader, then by uniting communities through music, spoken word, history, and volunteer service opportunities.  I invite all Bostonians to join us in this celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”  – Mayor Thomas M. Menino  


Local author, psychiatrist, educator, and respected social critic, Dr. Alvin Poussaint will deliver the keynote speech.  Born in East Harlem, Dr. Poussaint attended Columbia and received his MD from Cornell. He received his psychiatric training at UCLA and earned a masters degree in research methodology. In 1969, he joined Harvard Medical School, where he is Professor of Psychiatry and Faculty Dean for Student Affairs. He is director of the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs. From 1994-2010, Dr. Poussaint served as Director of the Media Center of the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston, promoting the health and well being of children and families. The Media Center launched the nonprofit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which advocates reducing the impact of advertising in children’s lives. He has provided consultation to government agencies, corporations, and the media.    


On subjects from stress to interpersonal communication, from multiculturalism to family dynamics, he is also one of the country’s top authorities. He has worked with corporate managers on the management of stress-related work issues and diversity in the workplace. An expert on the dynamics of racial and ethnic relations in America’s increasingly multicultural society, Dr. Poussaint is also a strong proponent of non-violent parenting and parenting education, having devoted a great deal of time to violence prevention initiatives.  Dr. Poussaint authored Why Blacks Kill Blacks (now out of print); co-authored with Dr. James Comer Raising Black Children; and co-authored with Amy Alexander Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African Americans. With Bill Cosby, he co-authored Come On, People! On the Path from Victims to Victors, which is a powerful message for families and communities as they lay out their visions for strengthening America, or for that matter, the world. He has written over 100 articles for both lay and professional publications.  


In addition to the keynote speaker, a distinguished roster of leaders will read from some of Dr. King's most memorable writings and speeches.  This roster includes Steve Grossman, Treasurer of Massachusetts; Lee Pelton, President of Emerson College; and Tulaine Marshall, a founding staff member of Citizens Schools.  


In keeping with the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy, the City of Boston and Boston Cares are organizing a service event at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain on Monday, January 16, 2012.  Hundreds of volunteers will be given the opportunity to choose from various service projects. Participants will be able to engage in different activities such as making scarves or decorating quilt squares which will benefit agencies throughout the Boston Metro area. There will be a variety of different projects and people coming together to serve their communities and celebrate their differences.   


There will be two volunteer sessions; the first session will be from 10:00-12:00 pm and the second will be from 1:30-3:30 p.m.  Registration will be available through the Boston Cares website, www.bostoncares.org and the City of Boston calendar section, www.cityofboston.gov/calendar.  This is a family friendly event.  


Music, spoken word, history and a day of service create an exquisite memorial to one of the world’s most beloved freedom fighters.        

About Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras  Founded in 1958, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) is an independent organization in residence at the Boston University Col¬lege of Fine Arts. BYSO’s mission is to encourage musical excellence in a professional and supportive environment by providing the highest-quality orchestra training and performance opportunities to qualified musicians, grades K–12, while making its programs accessible to under¬served communities through financial assistance and outreach. BYSO has evolved from a single orchestra to one of Boston’s most presti¬gious arts organizations, with a programmatic scope that includes three full symphonic orchestras, a string training orchestra, six chamber or¬chestras, a preparatory wind ensemble, a chamber music program, and a nationally recognized string training program that provides rigorous instruction to students from underrepresented communities. BYSO has served thousands of young musicians as one of the largest and most comprehensive youth orchestras in the United State and today is recognized nationally as a model music and arts edu¬cation organization. With a vision to educate young people from all de¬mographics, the BYSO holds excellence in music education at the heart of all of its activities. For more information visit www.BYSOweb.org  

About the Intensive Community Program  BYSO believes that every child benefits from engagement in the pursuit of artistic excellence provided in a nurturing environment. In 1999, BYSO recognized a need to reach out to students in underserved communities in the Boston area to extend this valuable opportunity. The Intensive Community Program, a nationally recognized string instrument-training program, serves underrepresented students in classi¬cal music with the goal of preparing them for successful auditions leading to membership in BYSO’s or¬chestras. ICP accepts young students (ages 5-8) who show exceptional interest in studying stringed in¬struments and provides them with scholarship assistance for weekly music lessons, ensemble classes and instrument rental. Once admitted into a BYSO orchestra, ICP students receive support in the form of need-based tuition scholarship, weekly lessons and use of an instrument until they graduate from high school. The program’s success is based on the community spirit that has been built which encourages students to achieve accelerated musical growth. ICP currently serves 60 students. For the past 13 years, the National Endowment for the Arts has supported the ICP. NEA panelists have praised the high artistic quality and teaching methods of the ICP, calling it a model music-training program for underserved youth. Locally, the Massachusetts Cultural Council recognized the artistic merit of BYSO and ICP with the Commonwealth Award, the state’s highest honor in the arts.    

About Museum of African American History Dedicated to preserving, conserving and accurately interpreting the contributions of black patriots, entrepreneurs, activists and educators from the Colonial Period through the 19th century, the Museum of African American History has four unique historic sites and amazing collections.  Exhibits and programs at the Museum’s National Historic Landmarks in Boston and Nantucket highlight the powerful story of extraordinary community leaders and ordinary citizens who changed the course of American history.  The crown jewel of these historic sites is the African Meeting House on Boston's Beacon Hill; the oldest black church edifice still standing in the United States, now newly restored and open as a showcase of American freedom and craftsmanship.  Monumental historical events were hosted at this anti-slavery church, with Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Maria Stewart among giants of the Abolitionist Movement who rallied there to demand equal rights and recruit blacks to play a defining role in the American Civil War.  Visit the Museum of African American History and hear inspiring stories.  Explore all of the historic sites, schedule a Black Heritage Trail® tour guided by National Park Service Rangers in Boston, and enjoy collections of artifacts, paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, manuscripts, antique and contemporary journals, documents, books, and material culture.  Visit maah.org or call 617-725-0022 x222 (Boston)or 508-228-9833 (Nantucket).    

About Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events and Faneuil Hall The Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events fosters the growth of the cultural community; promotes public participation in the arts and public celebrations; and advances cultural tourism in Boston. Visit our website at www.cityofboston.gov/arts.    

About Boston Cares  Boston Cares organizes and leads team oriented volunteer opportunities throughout Greater Boston that have a positive impact on individuals and communities.    


A Day of Service and Celebration in Honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  is presented by TARGET and co-sponsored by Metro Boston.  Events are free and open to the general public.  For further information visit www.cityofboston.gov/arts or call 617-635-3911.  

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