Karlene A.P. Burrell-McRae is speaker at an online Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration hosted by Kennebunk First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, set for Monday, Jan. 18. Courtesy Photo

KENNEBUNK – First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church will host an online program marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 18. 

Speaker for the event is Colby College Dean Karlene A.P. Burrell-McRae, who will use stories to ask her question, “Why are you so afraid?” and make her case, “Black Rage is Part of our Journey,” according to information on the church’s web page.

Burrell-McRae’s talk is inspired by a conversation with her teenaged daughter, who asked, in tears, “Why do they hate us?” after seeing a video of the killing of George Floyd.  One Minneapolis police officer has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in connection with Floyd’s death. Three other police officers face charges of aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter. 

Burrell-McRae, a ’94 Colby College graduate, leads initiatives to foster a diverse and inclusive community at the university. Before moving to Maine, Burrell-McRae, who holds a doctorate in education, directed the Black Cultural Center at Swarthmore College, and previously held several positions at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Baritone Samuel James Dewese will sing at an online presentation on Monday, Jan. 18 to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event is hosted by Kennebunk First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church. Courtesy Photo

World renowned musician and speaker, baritone Samuel James Dewese, will open the program with  “At the River” by Aaron Copland. Following Burrell-McRae’s presentation and questions, he  will sing additional pieces. 

Dewese studied in Chicago and London and has performed worldwide. 

The church has celebrated the MLK holiday for the past 17 years. 

Cost is $20 for families of two or more, $10 for adults, and the program is free for students 18 and younger who use their own devices for viewing, church officials said. For more information on the program, and for instructions on how to view the presentations, go to: www.uukennebunk.org/mlk-program. 


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