Western Massachusetts takes action on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

AFSC urges the Northampton community to take action daily against social injustices they see in the community

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – One western Massachusetts group made it their mission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to address social issues in our nation, and locally in Northampton.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the American Friends Service Committee of Western Massachusetts hosted 11 social justice workshops throughout Northampton, where hundreds of people attended the afternoon discussions.

This was the 33rd annual event hosted by the group throughout the city. This year’s theme was “We Shall Resist”, a nod toward Dr. King’s passion on social justice, and fighting in prejudice by being open to our differences.

One of the local social justice issues discussed was bringing in 51 Syrian refugees here to Northampton, especially during a time where Muslims across the world are being judged and persecuted. While discussions were engaging and allowed everyone to participate in small group settings, each workshop emphasized the importance of putting thoughts into action.

Jeff Napolitano, director of AFSC of Western Massachusetts explained to 22News, “It’s more than just sitting around and talking about stuff. It’s, how do we actually get out there and do stuff, and how do we become more engaged civilly and politically?”

That’s why Cody Edgerly of Amherst placed these signs throughout downtown, to let refugees know Northampton is also their home. “There are a lot of things that are working against you right now,” said Edgerly. “I think it’s important that you are going into a community that’s standing by you and has got your back, you know?”

It’s also why Aron Goldman of Amherst brought his daughters to these workshops. Goldman told 22News, “I didn’t want my kids to think that this was any old holiday. It’s 10 times more important to think about social justice, and make sure that we’re all in this together.”

The last event takes place Monday night at 6:00 p.m. at First Churches on Main Street.

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