In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and the late Harford County civil rights leader Joseph Bond, the Harford County Human Relations is hosting a humanitarian luncheon Tuesday at Water's Edge Events Center in Belcamp.

The humanitarian luncheon, is one of several observances around Harford County to honor Dr. King, whose 84th birthday would have been this Wednesday. The actual Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal observance is Monday, Jan. 20.

Among the other events in the county is the local chapter of the NAACP's annual Martin Luther King Celebration scheduled for Jan. 20.

In addition, Tuesday's luncheon honors the memory of Mr. Bond, who for many years led the Harford County Chapter of the NAACP and was much respected for his efforts to bring racial equality to the county.

"Joseph Bond was a civil rights leader in Harford County, when he passed we had already been doing the humanitarian breakfast, which turned into a lunch," said Lisa Manfuso, administrative specialist with the Harford County Department of Community Services. "They elected to put Mr. Bond on the luncheon in memorial to him."

This year's luncheon is youth themed, Manfuso said. Harford County students were asked to write essays responding to a quote from King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech, which was delivered 50 years ago last summer on the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the National March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Contestants were asked to write about opportunities they are going to take advantage of or use in response to the quote: "We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation."

The winner of the essay contest will read their entry during the luncheon. Both the winner and runner-up will be awarded cash prizes and recognized by County Executive David R. Craig.

Newly-appointed Harford County Circuit Court Judge Yolanda L. Curtin will be the luncheon's guest speaker.

Curtin is the first Latino judge appointed to the Harford County Circuit Court. Born in Cuba, Curtin said during her investiture in November that her parents moved her and her older sister to America following the Cuban Revolution.

Curtin earned her law degree from Rutgers University and a master's in law from Georgetown University. She mentors law students of Latino descent.

"Judge Curtin has an exciting story about opportunities in this nation," Manfuso said.

Reservations are still being taken for the luncheon at 410-638-4739. Tickets are $30. Water's Edge Events Center is located at 4685 Millennium Drive in Belcamp.

'A Legacy of Service'

The Harford County branch of the NAACP is hosting its 9th annual Martin Luther King Celebration titled "A Legacy of Service," at Temple Adas Shalom in Havre de Grace on Jan. 20. The event will honor the late former South African President and activist Nelson Mandela

The breakfast will begin at 8:15 a.m. with a program following. Rabbi Gila Ruskin will be the speaker at the event. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. For tickets call (443)528-5036

The Harford County alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. is hosting a day of service to honor King by serving chili lunch on Saturday, Jan. 18, at Welcome One Shelter in Belcamp. The service day begins at 11:30 a.m.

Libraries honor Dr. King

Harford County libraries are also joining in the observance of Dr. King's birthday.

The Edgewood branch is hosting MLK Day Trivia on Jan. 15, the civil rights leader's birthday, for elementary school age children.

The branch will continue their Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration into February, Black History Month, with a living history presentation by Bill Grimmette "The Olde Storyteller," said Pam Taylor, assistant branch manager at the Edgewood library.

Participants will hear stories about Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass and other black leaders.

The Aberdeen branch is hosting an "I Have A Dream" story time on Jan. 19 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The story time is open to all ages, said Conni Strittmatter, librarian at the Aberdeen branch. She said librarians will read different books about King or his ideas and ideals discussed in his "I Have A Dream" speech.

Afterward, participants will use crafts to create "their dream for the world," Strittmatter said.