Celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is January 15th, but is officially observed on the 3rd Monday of January. Not everyone has this day off, but for those that do, there are many things in your city that you can do to celebrate the life and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this Monday and over the weekend.
The new movie Selma was released last week and chronicles a three-month period of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The New Yorker’s David Denby writes about Selma: “This is cinema, more rhetorical, spectacular, and stirring than cable-TV drama…” He goes on to point out that “DuVernay’s timing couldn’t be more relevant. Next year marks the fiftieth anniversary of both the Selma marches and the passage of the Voting Rights Act.” If you are interested in seeing this movie and learning about this inspiring leader check your latest theater listing for show times.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, GA, so it is fitting that the MLK Civil and Human Rights Conference is held there from January 15-19. The conference was established to commemorate the life of Dr. King and the civil rights movement, but is inclusive of all people and aims to focus its efforts on community service and education. It is not too late to attend and registration can be done at the event.
If you live in Oregon, there are many activities going on. OregonLive.com chronicles some of the many options that you have from a Prayer Breakfast to a week-long celebration in Salem: Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015: Celebrations, services and events around Portland.
San Francisco hosts an annual parade and festival in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Beginning at 11:00 AM on January 19th, the 1.5 mile parade starts at Caltrain Station and ends at Willie Mays Plaza. The Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation has put together a list of events in and around San Francisco: http://norcalmlkfoundation.org/index.html. From January 16-19 there will be a children’s discovery hunt, music festival, health & wellness festival, and free admission at some of the city’s museums.
Interested in volunteering? A lot of people, from federal workers to private business employees, have Monday off work. With the upcoming three-day weekend, Time magazine encourages you to turn your day off into a day on. They have listed some volunteer organizations for major cities across the U.S.: http://time.com/money/3668231/volunteer-martin-luther-king-jr-day-of-service/.
New York City has a website specifically devoted to volunteer opportunities on MLK day: https://www.newyorkcares.org/mlk. There are also many opportunities for kids in New York City to get involved and learn about Dr. King’s life via interactive peace marches and various free museums. The Apollo Theater is hosting a free event, which includes musical performances, readings, panelists and moderators to encourage an engaging conversation about Dr. King. This event will be held on Sunday, January 18th, and is such a popular event that reservations are no longer available. Those still interested in attending can standby the day of the event in case space opens up (https://www.apollotheater.org/mlkuptownhall). The Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, is New York City’s largest public celebration. Also free to attend, this event brings together artists, activists, civic leaders, and community member to honor his legacy (http://www.bam.org/program/annual-brooklyn-tribute-to-dr-martin-luther-king).
No matter where you live, there are many activities to celebrate the life and legacy of this impactful historical figure. This list just touches on a few of the many celebrations around the U.S. but is a good starting point to deciding how you choose to celebrate the life of Dr. King on Monday.