Racial Justice

Take a look at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events around Boston

King famously earned his doctorate in theology from Boston University.

People in Boston honored Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy Monday by visiting the city’s new art display honoring the civil rights leader, reflecting on the way he shaped our country for the better, and protesting for racial justice.

Many people braved the snow to take a look at the new statue on the Boston Common which honors MLK Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King — who met in Boston.

The sculpture is called “The Embrace,” and depicts their hug after King won the Nobel Peace Prize. It is situated on a granite platform that also honors local civil rights leaders.

Lane Turner/Globe Staff
“The Embrace,” the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial sculpture. – Lane Turner/Globe Staff
@bostondotcom “The Embrace,” a towering bronze memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, was unveiled to the public on Friday, the culmination of years of work by Embrace Boston. The celebration of the sculpture, which depicts the hands and arms of the couple in an embrace, featured speakers including Gov. Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. Efforts to establish the 20-foot-high and 40-foot-wide bronze sculpture recognizing the time the Kings spent in Boston began five years ago. Read more about The Embrace at the link in our bio. #mlk #corettascottking #massachusetts #bostoncommon ♬ Strangely beautiful piano instrumental song – INOSHIN

Dedham resident Host Valcin, told The Boston Globe Monday, “I think it’s definitely designed more for when you see it, when you feel it. It’s beautiful. It speaks volumes.”

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Valcin was there with his 11-year-old son Noah and younger son Nick. Noah told the Globe he came away with a new appreciation for the civil rights leader.

“He’s kind of like a superhero,” Noah said.

Host Valcin (R) laughs after foisting a kiss on his 11 year-old son Noah’s cheek as they visited the Embrace sculpture on Martin Luther King Day. – (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

In the South End, about 75 protesters marched nearly 4 miles to Cambridge to rally against police brutality in light of the Jan. 4 killing of UMass Boston student Sayed Faisal by Cambridge police.

Mass Action Against Police Brutality organized the MLK March for Justice, the Globe reported. Protesters chanted the names of Black men who have been killed by police and held a moment of silence for Faisal when they reached the place where he was killed.

Protesters take part in an MLK Day March and Caravan 4 Justice. – (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

The protest began across the street from the home where 31-year-old Terrence Coleman was shot and killed by police in 2016 while suffering a mental health emergency. His mother, Hope Coleman, spoke passionately at the rally, the Globe reported.

“My son’s not by my side or at the dinner table,” Coleman said between tears. “Stop the damn bullets. Put your guns away. Help the residents — [police] don’t need to be carrying no bullets around mental health. There’s other ways to control mental health.”

Tears stream down Hope Coleman’s face as she talks about the loss of her son, Terrence Coleman, who was shot and killed by police, as she addresses those gathered for a MLK Day March and Caravan 4 Justice. – (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

Over at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the city’s annual MLK Day breakfast was held in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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WCVB reported that Boston Mayor Michelle Wu spoke at the breakfast about combatting misinformation.

“We’re battling not just two sides or left or right and a gradient in between that have to somehow come to compromise, but a growing movement of hate, abuse, extremism and white supremacy fueled by misinformation, fueled by conspiracy theories that are taking root at every level,” she said.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu speaks to attendees at the 53rd MLK Memorial Breakfast at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Monday. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Wu, the first person of color to be elected mayor of Boston, rallied attendees to overcome the “fatigue of despair” and work for change, WCVB reported.

“It is sometimes in those moments when we feel most tired, most despairing, that we are just about to break through,” Wu said.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley holds the hand of educator Kevin Dua during a conversation among educators and politicians that took place on stage at the 53rd MLK Memorial Breakfast at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Monday. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

WBUR reported that Massachusetts 7th Congressional District Rep. Ayanna Pressley advocated for increased federal and state funding for education during a panel between elected officials and educators.

“I don’t want to romanticize resilience, that our teachers are dipping into their own pockets to resource their classrooms or to feed their students,” she said. “And then we lift them up and say how extraordinary this is? That is an outrage.”

Gov. Maura Healey speaks to attendees at the 53rd MLK Memorial Breakfast at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Monday. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Governor Maura Healey spoke about how King’s teachings influence her work as a civil servant, WBUR reported.

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“In his name, we will stand up for racial justice, for equality,” she said. “We will root our actions in love. We will listen, respect and embrace every person in this state.”

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