Take Part In Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Birthday Celebrations Across the Nation!

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Even though the birthday of iconic civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who would have been 85 years old, is on January 15th, the federal holiday will be observed on the 20th. Many folks all around the country will reflect on the milestone event then try to seize the moment as the perfect opportunity to take part in celebratory functions or selfless acts. Spreading his undying message of love for is one way in which you can help to celebrate Dr. King’s vision. Check out the activities across this nation that will commemorate Dr. King’s birthday this year:

1) The Dance Theatre Of Harlem (DTH) comes to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on Friday, January 17th and will perform in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  Ballet dancer Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook founded the DTH in 1969 shortly after Dr. King’s death.  Mitchell and Shook were so inspired by Dr. King, fueled by all that he stood for and by the bold optimism of the civil rights era, they made the decision to bring the gift of ballet to Harlem by opening up a school.  Dance Theatre of Harlem flourished and the nucleus of a professional company was born. www.njpac.org

2) Experience the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall, which is part of the National Park Service in Washington D.C. The memorial was designed as a lasting tribute to Dr. King’s legacy and will forever serve as a monument to the freedom, opportunity, and justice for which he stood. The memorial opened in 2011, 48 years after Dr. King’s awe-inspiring “I Have a Dream” speech.  Rangers discuss King’s role in the Civil Rights movement daily. The National Park Service will also host a wreath laying service on January 20, which will be attended by politicos, celebrities, and religious and civil rights figures in observance of the birthday-anniversary for Dr. King.  www.nps.gov/mlkm

3) The Annual M.L.K. Peace March and Rally will begin at noon at St. James A.M.E. Church on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Hildebrand Street in Ashville, N.C.  Marchers will meet at the church on Monday, January 20, for a brief program before marching to City-County Plaza for a rally program of songs and speeches. Please bring a nonperishable food item for the Manna Food Bank.  www.mlkasheville.org

4) Actor Danny Glover, who is known for his community activism and humanitarian efforts, will headline Vanderbilt’s University’s M.L.K. Day celebration on Monday, January 20.  Glover will speak about the civil rights leader’s impact on the world, and following his talk, a candlelight vigil will follow. Members of the Vanderbilt community in Nashville, Tenn., will also participate in an “MLK Weekend of Action” from Friday, January 17 through Sunday, January 19. Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff will participate in projects that address the specific needs of the surrounding community. This year’s weekend of service also honors the contributions of Nelson Mandela in justice and equality. www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk

5) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 37th Annual Parade will take place in Miami’s Liberty City area on January 20. The celebratory event takes place along NW 54th Street on a route from NW 12th Avenue to NW 32nd Avenue. It ends with a celebration at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. Festivities include a children’s cultural area, food booths, and a vendor marketplace.  www.miamiandbeaches.com

6) The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will host its 28th annual tribute to the civil rights icon in a “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—Come Share the Dream” extravaganza that has evolved into the greatest experience in New York City. The celebration brings together artists and civic leaders to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. King. Revolutionary activist Angela Davis, who has been deeply involved in America’s quest for social justice for decades, will deliver this year’s keynote address. Joining the three-day event will include jazz and soul singer José James and the Christian Cultural Center Choir. The series will also feature original artwork by children living in Brooklyn public housing residences whose creations are inspired by Dr. King’s dream of freedom and equality.  In addition, the festivities will include remarks by BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins, Medgar Evers College President Dr. Rudolph F. Crew, and master of ceremonies Brooklyn Borough President-elect Eric Adams in an inspiring tribute to Dr. King’s enduring legacy. The series of events will run from January 17 to 20.  www.bam.org

7) The King Center in Atlanta has over the years held a commemorative church service, the hallmark of the MLK, Jr. holiday observance, at the city’s historical Ebenezer Baptist Church. The annual service this year on January 20 will draw, as it has in the past, not only members of various religious affiliations but national and international leaders from all levels, celebrities, and community activists.  The who’s who roster of dignitary speakers as well as the community at large will all flock to sing praises to the man who preached fiery sermons from the bully pulpit at the very same church where the event will be held. www.thekingcenter.org

8) The MLK Parade-Houston is the third-largest parade in the United States. Now in its 20th year, millions are expected to experience the gala organized by the MLK Parade Foundation.  The televised festivities will take place on January 20 and on hand will be floats, marching bands, 150 performing groups, as well as speeches from various top-tier politicos and community grassroots leaders.  The University of Houston’s Spirit of Houston marching band will lead the parade.  www.mlkgrandeparade.org

9) The Philadelphia Orchestra will honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  via the unifying power of music. Volunteers will be collecting new school supplies in support of a King Day of Service signature project.  Patrons planning on attending the free concert, conducted by Cristian Macelaru and directed by Dorina Morrow, are encouraged to bring school supplies to donate to local area public schools.  The concert will be held at the Girard College Chapel on January 20. www.philorch.org

10) On January 20, celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of friendship and love as kiddies experience the big ideas and images surrounding Dr. King’s legacy at Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine, California. Like Dr. King, kids will be encouraged to explore their own dreams, express themselves musically, create self-portraits, and learn to work together on this day celebrating the ideologies of Dr. King. www.pretendcity.org

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