January 13, 2023

Remembering and Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Remembering and Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Friends and Colleagues: 

In his letter from the Birmingham Jail so many years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. eloquently said that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” His words continue to inspire us and frame our work as we strive for full inclusion and respect for all people who make up our OPWDD family. This includes most importantly the people we support, but also our staff and many stakeholders.

OPWDD is proud to join Governor Kathy Hochul and the rest of New York State in honoring Dr. King’s legacy this year. This year’s program “New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: Paths to Change," will air on PBS on Monday, January 16 and be streamed on the New York State webpage here.  A free screening of the program will be shown at the Empire State Plaza on Friday, January 13. We hope you will have the chance to celebrate with us. You can find all the details here.

As those of you who work at OPWDD already know, we have been hard at work collecting food for the 23rd annual Dr. King Statewide Food Drive. Together with our partner New York State Agencies and several community-based organizations, we’ve helped to collect over 670,310 pounds of food and raised over $135,962 in donations to date. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Food Drive continues until Friday, February 10, so there is still time to contribute. Details about the Food Drive and the upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Book Drive, which begins Monday, February 20 can be found here: empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking

As we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, let’s remember that his message is one that we carry in our hearts year-round.  Let’s continue working together to build diversity and a welcoming culture for everyone as we strive to achieve the ideal of justice that Dr. King fought for so persistently. Working together, we will realize Dr. King’s dream. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our efforts so far.

Sincerely, 

Kerri E. Neifeld
Commissioner