A social-activist professor from Mamaroneck Village who helped safeguard immigrant rights and two Larchmont founders of the community’s first digital newspaper will be the special honorees at the 25th public Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday, (January 11) at the Hommocks Middle School Auditorium.
The Celebration, entitled “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” is hosted by the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Committee on Human Rights, with the help of the Local Summit.
John Gitlitz, associate professor at Purchase College, will receive the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for carrying on the ideals of equal opportunity championed by Dr. King. He served as co-president and then president of the Hispanic Resource Center during a pivotal period for local immigrant rights. The social services of his agency and its community education program, which he oversaw, have been widely credited with leading to local acceptance of new immigrants and their right to seek work. Gitlitz resigned as president of the Hispanic Resource Center this past autumn but remains on the board.
The Human Rights Committee will give a special tribute to the all-volunteer Larchmont Gazette, its founders, Paula Eisenberg and Dr. Judy Silberstein, and the many reporters and photographers who kept it going for 8 years until it was suspended in September, 2010. The two founders saw a gap in needed community news and worked to fill it.
As previously reported, Dr. James A. Forbes, Senior Pastor Emeritus of New York’s Riverside Church, a leading civil rights advocate, will deliver the keynote address. The program will also include performances and presentations by students from Mamaroneck and Rye Neck High Schools and the Hommocks Middle School.