Bayard Rustin Center observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. speaking.
Maplewood High School is observing Martin Luther King Jr. with the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice.
National Archives and Records Administration

The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, a New Jersey-based organization named after the late out gay civil rights icon, is hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance and luminary lighting on January 16 at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey.

Robt Martin Seda-Schreiber, the chief activist of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, will be the featured speaker for the event, which will be held at Columbia High School’s auditorium at 17 Parker Avenue in Maplewood. The event is slated to include a special dance by Columbia High School students, along with appearances by MAC scholars, the Columbia High School Chorus, and finally a luminary lighting.

The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice is a community center and safe space for LGBTQ youth and allies headquartered in New Jersey. It has always placed a spotlight on the often-overlooked work of Rustin, who was an adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. and led the organizing effort for the 1963 March on Washington. Schneider previously worked as a schoolteacher and once spearheaded a theater company.

“Too few folks nowadays are aware that Bayard Rustin planned the March, inspired the Freedom Riders, & brought non-violence to Dr. King himself, among many other extraordinary accomplishments,” Seda-Schreiber told Gay City News in a previous interview. “This lack of recognition is directly related to him not hiding in the shadows at a time when it was de rigueur for one’s very survival.”

The event on January 16 is being held in collaboration with the Community Coalition on Race in South Orange and Maplewood.