(Boston) May 2 – The New Democracy Coalition will host its annual public reading with a recitation of “Beyond Vietnam”, the historic speech in which Civil Rights Movement icon, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., declared his opposition to the Vietnam War in 1967.
Tuesday, May 2, 4PM (Music Starts at 3pm)
Boston City Hall Plaza
“We are humbled to read his speeches collectively every year as a civic ritual which seeks to bring Boston together. This reading demonstrates the capacity of Bostonians of all races and walks of life to come together and embrace each other in our diversity,” said the Rev. Kevin Peterson, who founded the event in 2018 on the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination. Nowhere else around the planet is Rev. King celebrated with an annual public reading.
Residents from all city neighborhoods will be represented as individual readers. More than 100 readers will perform—each reading 2 to 3 lines of the “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which focuses on the connection between racism, militarism, and economic inequality.
The youngest Bostonian reading is 8 years old. The oldest reader is 104. High profile readers include comedian Jimmy Tingle, Ambassador Ray Flynn, Reverend Ray Hammond, EL Mundo President and CEO, Alberto Vasallo, Mass Peace Action Executive Director, Cole Harrison and Bishop William Dickerson. Past readers, Mayor Michelle Wu, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and former Governor Deval Patrick have been invited. The majority of the Boston City Council will be readers.
Edwin N. Sumpter, of the New Democracy Coalition, will serve as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.