Swain School program commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance
The Swain School's third annual community commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day was held at the school Jan.21.
The program, "A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Day of Remembrance, Celebration and Service" was is open to families in the community, and included age-appropriate educational sessions, discussions and musical performances around the theme, "Courageous Conversations."
State Rep. Michael Schlossberg, D-132nd, opened the event, saying any one of us in this room could become great. Any one of us might come the next Martin Luther King Jr. We all have a chance to serve, even if it's just writing to our legislators."
Dr. Chris Kovats-Bernat, professor of anthropology at Muhlenberg College, led a breakout session telling of his experiences as an anthropologist in Haiti. He said racial discrimination is not confined to any one culture.
He described the 37 distinct racial types recognized in Haiti, and how discrimination between those racial types determines the way people live in that country. He said some of the world's most disadvantaged people stuggle for existence in the Haitian culture every day.
Debra Fraser-Howze, senior vice president of government and external affairs at OraSure Technologies, Inc., Bethlehem, traveled back to the Lehigh Valley from Washington, D.C. before the program. She had been in the nation's capital Sunday for pre-inauguration events.
She told the audience of her formative years growing up in New York City. She contrasted the racial environment in that city to the repressive environment when she visited relatives in southern states.
"The things you hear about drinking at different water fountains, sitting at different lunch counters those were real and happened to me," she said. "We can't let our young people forget that these things were real, and not that long ago."