San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) will host a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service on Monday, January 18, 2021 from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM via its YouTube and Facebook channels.
MoAD’s Director of Public Programs, Elizabeth Gessel, said the online, live celebration will include storytelling, poetry readings and discussions on social justice. “Traditionally, the MLK Day of Service is our biggest day of the year at the museum,” said Gessel. “On this day, we’re open for free and have a full, family-friendly day of events. Approximately 2,500 people would come to the museum on MLK Day, which means the museum is filled to capacity with lines going out the door.”
“We would normally collaborate with the City’s MLK festivals and events at Yerba Buena Gardens. This year, it has been a big challenge on how to replicate that since we’re not able to have anyone in the museum. Since last March, we’ve been able to do all of our programming virtually and maintaining our audience’s strong presence online.”
“Our main presentation for this year’s celebration is a digital exhibition called “Meet Us Quickly With Your Mercy: Painting for Justice in Prison,” which is part of a trilogy of events that address the social justice issue of mass incarceration. An exhibition was created by Rashaan Thomas who is currently incarcerated at San Quentin. The exhibition is made of 21 works by 12 artists who are also incarcerated at the prison”
“In partnership with ‘Flyaway Productions’, we will feature a seven-minute video of the performance that was filmed during rehearsals addressing mass incarceration and making the incarcerated more visible and human to people on the outside,” said Gessel. “This will also include a discussion with the artistic director, Jo Kreiter, who will discuss how the production was created and developed.
“Our MLK celebration will also include a poetry reading called “Dream We Do” that will feature four poets; Marvin K. White, Joyce Lee, Daniel B. Summerhill and Jewelle Gomez, who will share their poetry inspired by Dr. King,” added Gessel. “Additionally, there will be a Children’s Storytime for young children where we’ve partnered with the San Francisco Library to have staff members read aloud their favorite books about.”
“Another part of the celebration will be a discussion of photographic images of the Civil Rights Era,” noted Gessel. “MoAD docents will look at selected photographs of social justice protests, presenting photographs of people, ephemera, and other powerful images found in public domain archives.”
“They will discuss the power of photography and its capacity to encapsulate time. This particular part of the program will be live so viewers can ask questions and interact. It will be streamed live through our YouTube and Facebook live pages.”
“Our final activity will be a MLK Collage Creation in collaboration with the Adobe Black Employee Network,” said Gessel. “This event will be pre-recorded and it will give instructions to our audience on how to do a collage. One of our signature events includes providing chalk for children to draw their images of Dr. King on the sidewalk in front of the museum.”
“We normally have a featured artist come to the museum and draw a portrait of MLK on the sidewalk, and this year we’ll feature a time-lapsed video of the artist, Jamie Treacy, who created a portrait of MLK which will be shown to our audience. We also have a digital alter celebrating MLK where everyone can contribute images and words at htts://padlet.com/moadprograms/Bookmarks. “
“Throughout this entire process, we have worked collaboratively with the City of San Francisco and we want to encourage people to look at the NorCal MLK Foundation’s website at SFDAYMLK.org to see what other activities are going on, as well as celebrations at the King Institute at Stanford University, which will be doing a three-day film festival starting on Saturday, January 16th.
For more information on MoAD, visit their website at www.moadsf.org.