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Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration A Success

MLK Day On Not A Day Off


Jan. 20, 2015

For more information, please contact:

Michael Shermis, Events Specialist, City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department, 812.349.3471,

Alexa Lopez, Communications Director, City of Bloomington Office of the Mayor, 812.345.2489,

Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration A Success

Bloomington, Ind.
- Community members and leaders gathered for a reflection on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his impact on "A Day On! Not A Day Off" day of service on Monday evening, Jan. 19. The community celebration took place at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. and was preceded by a reception, also at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, at 6 p.m.

The event included greetings and remarks by Mayor Kruzan; Monroe County Commissioner Iris Kiesling; Martin McCrory, Indiana University Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs; and City of Bloomington MLK Commission Chair Nicole Griffin. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Commissioner Aurea Young was the Master of Ceremonies.

The keynote speaker was Bennett Singer, the producer and director of "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin." Singer is an award-winning filmmaker who has been making social-issue documentaries for more than 20 years. Credits include "Eyes on the Prize II," "With God On Our Side" and "The Question of Equality," all broadcast nationally on PBS. "Brother Outsider" has been shown at more than 500 community and school screenings and has been used by dozens of social justice organizations, including the NAACP, The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and Amnesty International. Singer's latest film, "Electoral Dysfunction," is a documentary about voting and voting rights and uses Indiana as a case study to illuminate how voting works and does not work in America. Bennett also served for eight years as Executive Editor of TIME Magazine's Education Program and is the editor of several books, including "Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian," which is an award-winning anthology for young people.

Musical performers included the Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble, directed by Dr. Raymond Wise, and the University Elementary School Choir, directed by Maggie Olivo. Poet Ross Gay, Associate Professor of Poetry at Indiana University, shared two original works. MLK Video Contest winners were announced. The winners include group winners Lane Borders, Joseph Ermey, Scott Grabowski, Elizabeth Halstead and Matthew Macintos, from the Jackson Creek Middle School Video Production Class, and individual winner Colin Prince, from Batchelor Middle School. Volunteers who participated in "A Day On! Not A Day Off" were recognized. The winner of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission's Legacy Award was Craig Brenner, musician and former Special Projects Coordinator at the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department. A "40 Days of Peace" pledge was also offered by MLK Commissioner Bill Vance. The celebration concluded with closing words by Rev. Bruce Ervin of First Christian Church and the audience sang "We Shall Overcome."

The Buskirk-Chumley Theater program and reception were both free and open to the public.

Major event underwriters include the City of Bloomington, Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College, Stephens Honda-Hyundai, WFHB and WFIU.

For more information, contact Events Specialist Michael Shermis at 812.349.3471 or visit the MLK Commission home page.