At least 150 people were present to decorate luminaries last Saturday, Jan. 4, in an event sponsored by the Community Coalition on Race. They are to be lit in the evening of Martin Luther King Jr. Day outside homes to bring light to the world.

Sheena Collum, South Orange Village President, told the children present, “When you’re hanging out with friends, remember the message of inclusion. And that’s what Dr. King’s message was.” She also told the kids “Continue to spread that message to everyone else. You are the future. So cheers to all the kids here and the exceptional parents who brought their kids out.”

Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee also thanked parents for bringing their families out and believing in Dr. King’s ideals. “Dr. King wanted everyone to know that you are beautiful.” He also noted that as Dr. King had great people around him, you do too. “Know that you don’t stand alone… And together, not individually, we will achieve love and happiness.”

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The coalition is 23 years old. The luminary project is seven years old and this was second year that a decoration event was held. Their goal is 2,020 luminaries lit in 2020 on MLK day, Monday, Jan. 20. 

An interfaith observance and volunteer fair at Columbia High School will take place on Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. For more information, and a full list of Maplewood and South Orange merchants with luminaries available for purchase with proceeds going to CCOR, go to