About the Committee
With the Arlington Interfaith Association as the driving spirit, representatives from four local groups spearheaded Arlington’s first town-wide observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday holiday in 1989.
This event has been repeated each January. The original organizing committee included three members of the Arlington Interfaith Association as well as Nan Henderson, president of the African American Society of Arlington; Pearl Morrison, president of the Arlington Civil Rights Committee; and Howard Cohen, chairperson of the Arlington Fair Housing Advisory Committee. A compelling reason for the observance, according to the Rev. Charles Grady, was the almost daily reading “of ugly incidents of racial intolerance and violence, and a tendency to strip away hard-won civil rights from minority groups.”
An annual event honoring Dr. King’s memory was one way of responding. The first program featured citations for outstanding work in fostering racial understanding on the local level. Each year the proceeds are distributed to public organizations and nonprofits that promote the goals of equality, justice and nonviolence for which Dr. King gave his life
Along with organizing a community celebration of D. King's life and works in January of each year, the committee is charged with fostering racial understanding, tolerance, and respect for others, promoting non-violent means to settle differences of opinions, and recognizing people in the community who further the goals of Dr. King.
"The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Prize Lecture, December 11, 1964