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Sisters of Mercy to receive award at MLK celebration

MANCHESTER - The New Hampshire Sisters of Mercy, the order of nuns who advanced social justice issues and helped to open soup kitchens and homeless shelters in Manchester, will receive the Martin Luther King Jr. award Monday during the city's 31st annual celebration of Martin Luther King Day.

The celebration is scheduled to take place at the community center of the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Hanover St., from 2 to 5 p.m.

The Coaliton said the sisters will be honored for their "unceasing dedication to social justice."

Since their establishment in the state in 1843, the Sisters of Mercy have dedicated themselves to education and care for the poor. Today, they use their resources to respond to concerns of increased violence and racism in all forms, impoverishment of people, unjust immigration laws and oppression of women, according to Sister May Cronin.

"We are deeply concerned about Earth in light of the forces that threaten its future," she said.

The guest speaker will be Richard Haynes, a well-known artist and associate director of admissions for diversity at the University of New Hampshire.

In 2008, he received the university's President's Excellence Through Diversity Award and the Social Justice Award.

His art hangs in the permanent collection at the Currier Museum of Art, Schomburg Library, University of New Hampshire, Avery Art Institute, and the Bronx Museum of Arts. He has three published works: "Regalia, Native American Dance," "Portsmouth Unabridged: New Poems for an Old City," and "The Great Shape Hunt."

The celebration begins with a potluck meal and social hour at 2 p.m. The program begins at 3 p.m.

Selina Taylor, a community organizer with the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and an active member of the Manchester NAACP, will be presented the second Vanessa Washington-Johnson Bloeman.

The Martin Luther King Coalition will recognize the talent of three young writers for their entries in the Martin Luther King Writing Contest - winner Da Nae Baker, a fifth-grader at Wilson Street School, and runners-up Ange Nishimirwe and Aaliyah Mercado, both fifth-graders at Beech Street School in Manchester.

The Central High School Jazz Ensemble will perform, and non-perishable food donations will be accepted for the New Hampshire Food Bank.

For more information, go to

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