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Walpole observes MLK Day 2023

By Elizabeth Connolly
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

Walpole citizens were invited to unite on the common on Monday, January 16, in observance of
Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The theme of this year’s observance was “The Beloved Community”
and the candlelight vigil featured singing, prayer, and several readings of Dr. King’s writings.

Attendees gathered in a circle for the forty minute event, each holding a candle or light. After a
speech from Walpole Peace and Justice Group cofounder Philip Czachorowski, a song led by
his wife, Lois, and a prayer courtesy of Reverend Christen Mills of Epiphany Parish, several
folks chose to do a reading either by or about Dr. King.

Reverend Dr. Aaron Shepherd of the Union Congregational Church in East Walpole told an
inspiring “kitchen table” story regarding Martin Luther King’s involvement in the Montgomery bus
boycott and the threats he received as a result. “Whether you believe in the same god Dr. King
believed in is less important than the reality that when you believe in the things he believed in,
you’re believing in something we haven’t seen,” Reverend Shepherd summarized. “There has
never been a society of true equality. There has never been a society where everybody had
enough to eat, where everybody lived together in peace and harmony… it’s never existed. But
he held on to faith in something unseen, and I just think that’s an important thing to remember in
those moments when you feel tired.”

Local activist and performer Adrienne Williams was in attendance to lead the group in some
singing. “A lot of those songs that we know about came from southern African-American
tradition and were sort of rearranged and made into freedom songs,” she explained. “There
hasn’t been one struggle where there hasn’t been singing and anthems,” she continued before
leading the group into a rendition of “We Shall Overcome”.

“The vigil was a way for people in Walpole to honor Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to come
together to promote peace and unity in our community, to stand for racial justice, and to commit
to his vision of the Beloved Community,” said Philip Czachorowski.

This event was co-sponsored by Walpole Peace and Justice Group, Epiphany Parish, United
Church in Walpole, Be Inclusive, Inc., Union Congregational Church, and Action Together

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