Back in 1966, Joe Bruchac joked around with Martin Luther King Jr. as they marched in the Meredith March in Mississippi.
We were watching state troopers point their guns at us on the side of the road and he said, 'we'll be visited later tonight by some of their friends in white,' said Bruchac, who lives in Greenfield Center. "It's the kind of thing you hardly remember later on because it wasn't the substance of the conversation really."
Bruchac, a storyteller and songwriter who focuses largely on his Native American culture, will recount his memorable march with the famous civil rights activist on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 17, as part of the very first celebration targeting the entire Saratoga Community.
A National Day of Community Service already existed, but this year, a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Committee was formed by community leaders to develop a Saratoga event to coincide with the rest of the nation. The celebration that emerged will be a morning of volunteering followed by an afternoon of presentations, discussion and refreshments at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.
"It's something we've been talking about for a long time. We're putting some of his vision into action. In years passed, we've really wanted to focus on his vision but it's our tendency to sort of celebrate him but maybe not understand him," said Jim Fulmer, chair of the planning committee.
In creating the day of honor, celebration, awareness and remembrance, Fulmer said the committee concentrated on some of King's ideologies not widely acknowledged"the "giant triplets of racism, militarism and materialism" and the "beloved community."
"We don't hear much about them these days, but racism, militarism and materialism are all interrelated and what ends up being a very unjust system. So for example, we're fighting wars and spending inordinate amounts of money on defense but people are going hungry and don't have proper health care," said Filmer. "Another term that he spoke of was the 'beloved community' and working with others and sharing some of our own gifts. I think this really helps us experience that sense of community."