*(New York, NY) – The Apollo Theater and WNYC are partnering for a second year to present WNYC’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration with “Hear Our Voices, Count Our Votes: MLK’s March Continues,” presented as part of the Apollo’s Uptown Hall series. In addition, WNYC will kick off MLK weekend with “Movement,” a night celebrating the Civil Rights Movement and the art at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WNYC.
On Sunday, January 18 at 3pm, WNYC’s Peabody Award-winning host Brian Lehrer and MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry will convene a discussion that looks at how—50 years after the passage of the historic Voting Rights Act—communities across America continue to grapple with voter disenfranchisement, suppression, strained police-community relations, discrimination and other challenges to full equality.
Lehrer will kick off the afternoon with a one-on-one conversation with Congressman Charles Rangel.
Other guests will include:
· Rita L. Bender, widow of Michael Schwerner, one of three civil rights workers murdered in 1964 by the KKK
· Darryl Pinckney, author of “Ball Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy”
· Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist at Majora Carter Group
· Dante Barry, Director at Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
· Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel at NAACP Legal Defense Fund
· Michael Skolnik, president of GlobalGrind.com
This year’s event will also honor the legacies of the great civil rights activists who have passed away this past year: Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee,and Yuri Kochiyama. Dramatic tributes for these venerable women will be given by vocalist Alyson Williams, actress Cassandra Freeman and Yuri Kochiyama’s granddaughter Akemi Kochiyama, respectively. Audiences will also be treated to a performance by the Harlem gospel quartet,Refining Faith.
“Dr. King memorably declared, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,’” said Brian Lehrer. “In this ninth edition of our annual MLK event, we’ll consider the arc of the last 50 years. From the Voting Rights Act to Staten Island to Ferguson, we’ll take the temperature on the state of freedom in our country, and we’ll celebrate three women who greatly contributed to the fight for civil rights. We’re thrilled to be partnering once again with the Apollo Theater, and I’m personally delighted to welcome the esteemed Melissa Harris-Perry to join me as co-host.”
“Since its inception, the Apollo Theater has served as a ‘town hall’ for local community residents as well as people from all across New York City,” said Jonelle Procope, President & CEO of the Apollo Theater. “The Apollo is also a kind of organic gathering place for people at historic moments in African American culture, as when thousands of people flocked to the Theater when Michael Jackson and James Brown passed away. Apollo Uptown Hall is a natural extension of that role, and so we are extremely proud to partner with WNYC again this year for their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration.”