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MLK Events In Yonkers Aim To Fight Racism, Increase Awareness

Left to right: Dothlyn Dennis of Volunteer New York!, Executive Director Alisa Kesten, United Way of Westchester and Putnam CEO Alana Sweeny kick off Martin Luther King Day in Yonkers. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Seven-year-old Marc Rowe works on his message in honor of MLK Day. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Marc Rowe, 7, of the Bronx, with his uncle, Tafari O'Meally, of Yonkers. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Cortlandt Manor resident Eric Rauschenbach and son, Aaron, 5, work on their drawing for MLK day. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Attendees discuss training adults on how to interact with kids, and dealing with racism. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Residents discuss fighting racism at the Yonkers Riverfront Library. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Volunteers from Volunteer New York! and the United Way. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Two events were held Jan. 17 at the Yonkers Riverfront Library ,in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

One had residents listening to and discussing King's "I Have A Dream" speech, then creating a mural (which will be displayed at the Thomas Cornell Academy ) to honor the message; the second was designed for service providers and teachers with the discussion focused on taking discrimination out of schools.

Both events were sponsored and organized by Volunteer NY! and the United Way of Westchester and Putnam .

One of the participants, Tafari O'Meally, of Yonkers, brought his nephew  -- 7-year-old Marc Rowe to the event.

"I think it's important for him to understand that giving back is a good thing," said O'Meally. "And if you can share your time, and help, with others. ... That's a good thing."

Eric Rauschenbach of Cortlandt Manor attended with his son, 5-year-old Aaron. "His mom works for Volunteer NY!. He's helped clean up a beach already and he said he wanted to come today and volunteer to help."

Alisa Keston, Volunteer New York! Executive Director, talked to Daily Voice about the importance of various projects happening over the weekend.

"Every year we organize this day in recognition of Dr King, what he did and what he stood for. It's important and powerful this year, more than ever," she said.

"The reality is, we cant just talk about racism just once a year; we have to keep working on building strong relationships between people. And we do that by helping one another.

"That's why we're doing more than 30 projects in our community over the weekend. It's very powerful, and helps build the community we all want to work in, live in, and be in for the future."

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