Although Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated Monday, Jan. 21, the Larchmont-Mamaroneck community will be commemorating Dr. King’s legacy earlier and in a different way this year: with a weekend of films and panel discussions addressing social issues, housing and voting rights from Jan. 12-14.
This marks the first year that the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Human Rights Committee will celebrate MLK Day with a film festival; since 1990, the Committee has held an annual award ceremony where an individual or organization that uphold Dr. King’s values, are honored.
“We think that this film festival honors Dr. King's memory by engaging our community in some vital issues that need attention in order to attain a more just society in which people of diverse backgrounds can live together in harmony,” explained Elaine Chapnick, a member of the Committee.
On Saturday, Jan. 12, the Mamaroneck Public Library will screen The New Metropolis: The New Neighbors, a film that Chapnick describes as “how a community dealt with the issue of creating an integrated, welcoming community that stemmed white flight.”
Following the movie, there will be a panel discussion with the community on housing issues featuring Zoe Colon, director of the Hispanic Resource Center; Jeremy Ingpen, director of the Washingtonville Housing Alliance and David Booker, deputy executive director at the Yonkers-based Sharing Community, Inc.
As Ingpen detailed to Patch, some of the issues he’ll discuss on the panel hit close to home.
Unlike NYC, Westchester County has not yet outlawed Section 8 discrimination, whereby landlords can deny housing to potential tenants enrolled in the County Housing Choice Voucher Program (CVR), “greatly restricting the choice of apartments available to low income and especially to those on disability supplement,” he said. By contrast, New York City law prohibits landlords from denying housing to potential tenants based on their use of Section 8 or other government subsidies.
Ingpen also pointed to the fact that urban poverty tends to be concentrated in areas with greater rental housing, as many low-income families are unable to purchase a home. For example, in Mamaroneck’s Washingtonville neighborhood where there are a greater number of rental units, 24 percent of families are considered low-income compared to only 10 percent in the Village of Mamaroneck as a whole.
On Sunday night, Jaine Elkind Eney, a Town of Mamaroneck councilwoman, will discuss her experience as a White Plains public school student during the period in which the schools were integrated.
“We’re hoping to create a dialogue among the people in the community about these issues,” she said.
And on Monday, lawyer and Co-Chair of the Westchester/Lower Hudson Valley Region of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council Frank Streng, will speak on several topics related to voting and elections, including election monitoring; problems in the 2006 election of Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins against then incumbent Senator Nicholas Spano and the importance of election monitoring, even in places where voter intimidation is no longer a problem.
The award ceremony will still take place this year. On the final day of the festival, the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Special Education PTA will be presented with the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. award.
The schedule for the film festival is as follows:
SATURDAY, JAN. 12, 4:00 p.m. - MAMARONECK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Documentary Film: The New Metropolis: The New Neighbors
This film shows how one town created a vibrant, integrated suburb. Narrated by Ruby Dee
Panel: Jeremy Ingpen, director, Washingtonville Housing Alliance
Moderator: Mike Witsch, Village of Mamaroneck resident, mass communications professor, Iona College
SUNDAY, JAN. 13, 3:30 p.m. REFRESHMENTS; 4:00 p.m. PROGRAM - LARCHMONT VILLAGE CENTER behind the Larchmont Library
Documentary Film: A Class Divided
A classic film about a teacher's daring experiment to evaluate how racial stereotypes affect young children.
Panel: Jaine Elkind Eney, Town of Mamaroneck councilwoman; Sharon Mosley, independent LMC-TV television producer and Mark Levy, director of the Community Counseling Center
Moderator: Naomi Hill, former principal, Central School.
MONDAY, JAN. 14, 7:30 p.m. - MAMARONECK TOWN CENTER - CONFERENCE ROOM C
Larchmont/Mamaroneck Special Education PTA to Receive the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award
Documentary Film: We Will Stand
This film examines some of the impediments to voting.
Panel: Frank Streng, partner with the law firm, McCarthy Fingar LLP; Mary Stanton, civil rights author and assistant to the Town of Mamaroneck administrator.
Moderator: Jaine Elkind Eney, Town of Mamaroneck Councilwoman.