WALLINGFORD — Although there won’t be a town-sponsored public celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. this year, town officials are planning an online memorial.
According to a statement from Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr., the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic “prevents us from holding our annual Martin Luther King Day observance, but we share our thoughts with the community … regarding the life of Dr. King and the importance of his teachings in our lives.”
The Mayor’s Office plans to collect and post written statements from Dickinson, Public Celebrations Committee Chairwoman Roz Gallagher, School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo and Mary Heffernon, a representative of the town’s Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, on Wallingford Government Television, the town website and the Board of Education website.
Gallagher said earlier this week that it was important to recognize King’s dream, accomplishments and legacy on the day dedicated to the slain civil rights leader.
She said that since things have ramped up with COVID-19, “we felt it’s best not to consider an at-risk situation.”
She added that even if a socially-distanced event was held in Town Hall council chambers, they may have had to deny some people access due to indoor capacity limits.
In past years, the town-sponsored celebration has included musical performances, remarks by town leaders and essay readings by high school students.
“Wallingford celebrates this day as a tribute to a great American,” Dickinson said in the statement,” who reminds us that every person, regardless of skin color, is entitled to respect, kindness, opportunity and happiness. Dr. King gave his life to seek social and legal changes that benefit everyone.”