Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on Monday, Jan. 17 this year and will be celebrated with marches, keynote speakers and community service in remembrance of the slain civil rights activist.
Born Jan. 15, 1929, King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in his honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, although it wasn’t officially observed in all 50 states until 2000.
Last year, many of the anticipated events were held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year there are both in-person and virtual events to consider.
Here’s a roundup of MLK Day events happening across Michigan by region:
Grand Rapids African American Museum
On Saturday, Jan. 15, the Grand Rapids African American Museum will present “Considering Spirituality as Praxis for Democracy.” The topic is based on the new book “Letters to Martin,” by local author and University of Kansas professor Randal M. Jelks, Ph.D.
The free event is scheduled for 2 p.m. at 87 Monroe Center Street NW. Registration is required and additional information can be found on Eventbrite here. Attendees must wear a mask.
Urban League of West Michigan
The Urban League of West Michigan in Grand Rapids is hosting its MLK Corporate Breakfast virtually Monday, Jan. 17.
Grand Rapids Community MLK Commemoration
The daughter of the Brown vs. Board of Education namesake, Cheryl Brown Henderson, will give the keynote address Monday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. at West Michigan’s 36th annual event commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Grand Valley State University, Davenport University and Grand Rapids Community College will host the free, virtual program. Those interested can register online here to retrieve a Zoom link to the webinar.
Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Four Grand Rapids organizations will team up on Monday, Jan. 17 to deliver free COVID-19 vaccinations to residents to increase the vaccination rate among the Black community, while building greater awareness about the positive impact of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Residents age five and older can receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Brown-Hutcherson Ministries, 618 Jefferson Ave. SE. To pre-register online click this link – or simply walk in and register on-site the day of the event. COVID safety protocols will be enforced including mask mandates and social distancing.
MLK at the Movies
Celebration Cinema is partnering with the NAACP of Greater Grand Rapids to offer the community an opportunity to see a free screening of the documentary film “Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union,” on Monday, Jan. 17 and Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Studio Park’s Celebration Cinema, 123 Ionia Ave. SW.
The three-part documentary series will be shown on Monday at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (Part I & II) and Tuesday, January 18 at 6:00 p.m. (Part III), with a discussion to follow.
Calvin University’s January Series
LaTasha Morrison will present “Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17 in the Covenant Fine Art’s Center, 1795 Knollcrest Circle SE, at Calvin University. More information can be found here.
Ferris State University
Ferris State’s Office of Multicultural Student Services invites the community to come out Monday for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, featuring an address by Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, civil rights activist and Freedom Rider.
The January 17 in-person event at 1010 Campus Drive in Big Rapids, is from 4 to 7 p.m., and is free to the public.
Participate in a scavenger hunt, learn about inventors from diverse backgrounds, create a make-and-take heart dream catcher or paint a stone of hope as part of the free MLK Day festivities at the Holland Museum on Thursday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about the in-person event, head to their website.
MLK Day of Service
Grand Valley State’s Community Service-Learning Center, in partnership with the university’s MLK executive planning committee, is inviting the community to the MLK Day of Service and Solidarity Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Activities include a keynote speaker, service projects, lunch, panel discussion, and workshops. Register here.
On Monday, Jan. 17, Aquinas College will begin the federal holiday with a welcome and blessing at 10 a.m. outside the Aquinas College Performing Arts Center entrance, 1703 Robinson Rd. SE. The campus silent march and a theatrical performance will follow.
There will also be a screening and discussion of the movie, “Just Mercy,” at 6 p.m. Monday in the Wege Ballroom with complimentary beverages and Mosby’s popcorn.
Muskegon Museum of Art
The Muskegon Museum of Art is offering a Free Community Day to celebrate and honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday, Jan. 17 from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
The event is scheduled as in-person, exploring the galleries with MHS student docents, engaging through an interactive exhibition and a film screening of, “Black Man” throughout the day at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium, located at 296 W. Webster Ave.
United Way of the Lakeshore
In celebration of MLK, United Way is encouraging Muskegon residents to volunteer in packing COVID-19 care kits for homeless families and homebound seniors starting at 11 a.m. on Monday at the Burel Center, 412 E. Sherman Blvd., in Muskegon Heights. Masks are required to volunteer regardless of vaccination status. Click here to volunteer.
“Up from the Bottoms” Documentary
United Way of the Lakeshore will also be hosting a special screening of the documentary film “Up From the Bottom: The Search for the American Dream” on Monday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. in the Burrel Center, 412 E. Sherman Blvd., in Muskegon Heights.
The film is described as following the personal stories of African-Americans, now in their 80′s and 90′s who migrated north in the 1940′s to the war factories of Muskegon. Masks are required. To reserve a seat for the documentary, head to the website.
Supper House & Pathfinders of Muskegon MLK Dinner
Supper House and Pathfinders of Muskegon will host a ceremony and free dinner and dessert along with entertainment on Monday, Jan. 17 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Supper Club on the campus of Temple United Methodist Church, 2500 Jefferson St. in Muskegon Heights.
Community Foundation of Muskegon County
To recognize the National Day of Racial Healing, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will be hosting a virtual presentation that can be viewied on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Beardsley Theater, 425 W. Western Ave., Suite 200.
Masks are required. To view at home, visit healourcommunities.org/day-of-racial-healing.
The Conviction of Lady Lorraine
An original one-woman play written and performed by Western Michigan University associate professor Dwandra Nickole Lampkin. The play, directed by Dee Dee Batteast, is set in Memphis, Tennessee, near the motel where King was assassinated.
At 7:30 p.m. nightly Jan. 14-15 at the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St. on the campus of Kalamazoo College. Tickets are free, but advance reservations are recommended to ensure seats.
Northside Ministerial Alliance 36th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Beth Washington, vice president of community, health, equity and inclusion at Bronson, will serve as the keynote speaker. Her speech will be “Eradicating the Impact of Racism: It Takes a Life, Not Just a Day.”
The event takes place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 120 Roberson St. The event can also be viewed online at Mt. Zion’s Facebook and YouTube pages and at www.nmakzoo.org/announcements.html.
MLK Day Teach-In
Four one-hour sessions on the theme “The time is always right to do what is right” will begin with a memorial to the Rev. Min Mochizuki, who was responsible for bringing Dr. King to Western Michigan University in 1963.
The event takes place from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17, in the south ballroom of WMU’s Bernhard Center, 1903 W. Michigan Ave. The event is free to attend and can also be viewed online here.
Community Wide Day of Service
Spearheaded by the Gryphon Place in Kalamazoo, multiple volunteer opportunities were made available on Monday, Jan. 17 throughout the day at eight different sites across the area. Register by Jan. 14 if you wish to volunteer.
2022 MLK wreath-laying ceremony
An annual wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Dr. King will happen at 4:40 p.m. at Martin Luther King Memorial Park, 507 N. Rose Street.
Broncos Kitchen Foundation Free Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner
A free dinner for food-insecure college students attending Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College from 5-6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17 at 58 West Student Apartments meal site, 5800 Jefferson Commons Dr. in Kalamazoo.
The menu will consist of rotisserie chicken, baby back ribs, a veggie dish, macaroni and cheese, yams, collard greens, cornbread, dessert and bottled water. Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, all guests are required to wear a mask before entering the clubhouse.
Sixth Annual National Day of Racial Healing
TRHT Kalamazoo (Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation) and the Kalamazoo State Theatre are partnering together for a live stream which will be broadcast from the Kalamazoo State Theatre stage. The theme for 2022 is “Our Joy Matters: Healing Across Generations” and will feature multiple community voices and local youth artists.
Social Justice Youth Awards
The city of Kalamazoo will recognize select students between the ages of 12 and 19 for their accomplishments and leadership in the areas of racial and social justice at the city commission meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. on the city’s YouTube page.
MLK Symposium at University of Michigan
Noted journalists and commentators, Maria Hinojosa and Rashad Richey, will co-headline the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium Memorial Keynote Lecture on Monday, Jan. 17.
The theme for this year’s free public event is “This is America.” Those interested can attend the lecture in-person or virtually at 10 a.m. at Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave.
MLK Day Circle of Unity at the Diag in Ann Arbor
This event on Monday, Jan. 17, brings students, staff, faculty and community members together in celebrating King’s legacy through song, dance and the spoken word.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is from 3-4 p.m. at 913 S. University Ave.
MLK, Militarism, and the Future
Members of Veterans For Peace-93 and the UM Office of Veterans and Military Services will examine King’s concepts and ideologies of racism, militarism and military services.
Those interested can attend the event in-person or virtually from 2-4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17, at 911 N. University in the Hussey Room (Michigan League). Streaming services will be available here.
EMU MLK Celebration 2022
Eastern Michigan University is offering a multitude of events on Friday, Jan. 14, Sunday, Jan. 16, and Monday, Jan. 17 including a virtual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Kickoff, a MLK Academics Programs Conference, a virtual CloseUp Theatre Troupe Performance & Discussion and the 35th annual MLK President’s Luncheon after day two of the conference.
For more information on the upcoming events, visit EMU’s website.
MLK Day Celebration: Washtenaw Community College
WCC is inviting the public to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for their virtual celebration themed “Beloved Community” on Thursday, Jan. 13 from 3:30-5 p.m. To join the virtual event, visit here.
MLK Day of Service at Barton Nature Area
Natural Area Preservation of Ann Arbor is hosting a Day of Service for community members to help clean up the nature area.
Ann Arbor District Library Celebrates MLK Day
The Ann Arbor District Library plans to showcase a series of videos every top of the hour on Monday, Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each video is a hand-drawn illustration of a quote from speeches, articles and correspondences delivered throughout Dr. King’s life.
MLK Day Screening of Lee Daniels’ The Butler
The Chelsea District Library is offering a free online screening of a story about an African American butler working at the White House, serving eight U.S. presidents for three decades who finds his personal life deeply affected by the sweeping social changes he witnesses.
The online screening is 5:30-7:45 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17. Participants can register here.
Chelsea First United Methodist Church: Multi-Cultural Concert
First United Methodist Church will be hosting a multi-cultural concert on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 4:30 p.m. The event will take place at 128 Park Street in Chelsea for in-person viewing. The theme for the concert is “How Music Impacts Our Culture”, with commentary by Rev. Darryl Toddy.
For in-person attendance, masks will be required. The event will also be live streamed for those interested in attending virtually. To watch online, visit Chelsea First United Methodist Church’s YouTube page, or click here.
MLK Day of Service and Social Action
Chelsea’s One World One Family nonprofit organization will be hosting a collection drive for school and art supplies for refugee families during the MLK Day holiday on Monday, Jan. 17 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at 125 Jackson Street in Chelsea.
Masks will be required. For more information on the event, visit One World One Family’s website.
43rd Annual MLKing tribute
Mott Community College, Hamilton Community Health, the Flint Jewish Federation, Baker College, Kettering University and the University of Michigan-Flint is hosting a virtual MLK tribute at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13. The keynote address will be given by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Individual admission is $25, event sponsorship is $300 (admits 10). Register at www.mcceventsonline.com. For more information, call 810-762-0425.
16th Annual Mentoring Inspiration Celebration
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flint & Genesee County is inviting the community for its virtual 16th Annual Mentoring Inspiration Celebration at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 17. The celebration honors Dr. King’s legacy through the promotion of mentorship and service in the community, according to the organization’s event flyer.
To register, call the Big Brothers Big Sisters office at 810-235-0617. Those interested in joining the virtual celebration are encouraged to RSVP by Friday, Jan. 14.
Vaccination clinic to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Vernon Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in collaboration with Michigan United, is planning to host a vaccination clinic in honor of the civil rights leader’s legacy between 2 to 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17 at the Vernon Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 5802 Dupont St., in Flint.
Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccinations and boosters will be available for adults and children ages 12 and up. In-home vaccinations and boosters are also available, per the news release.
For further information, contact the church office at 810-785.5721.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
The Flint Institute of Arts, in collaboration with the Flint Public Library, celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a virtual celebration that takes place from 2 to 3 p.m. on Monday, Feb 17.
The virtual event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Debra Furr-Holden, Ph.D.; associate dean for Public Health Integration at Michigan State University and director of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions, with program emcee Rev. Moses Bingham, Community Foundation of Greater Flint. To learn more about the event, visit here.
10th Annual MLK Day Youth for Change Initiative
Teach 2 Reach Professional School of Barbering, 3268 Cheyenne Ave., in Burton is hosting a free clipper class from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17. Young adults ages 14-18 will be able to learn hands on personal clipper cutting techniques, how to become a professional barber and more, according to the school’s event flyer.
To register for the class, call 810-820-8201.
MLK Diversity Celebration 2022
On Friday, Jan. 14, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its annual in-person event to honor King’s legacy. The event takes place from 7:30- 9 a.m. and features Spring Arbor University graduate and award-winning gospel music artist Babbie Mason as the keynote speaker. Breakfast is included.
Tickets are on sale for $65 per person. To purchase, visit here.
King Day Panel Discussion on Implicit Bias, “How They See Us”: virtual event
Jackson College is hosting a virtual panel discussion on how implicit bias can have life changing effects on people’s lives from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17. The Offices of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity, Equity and Belonging is hosting the event, which includes Jackson Mayor Daniel Mahoney and Antoine Breedlove, director of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Belonging.
The panel discussion is free and open to all ages. To watch, visit here.
MLK Day of Service and Art Contest
The Jackson County Branch NAACP is hosting its yearly Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service from 10-11:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 17. The Day of Service and art contest was originally scheduled to take place in-person at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, but due to rising cases of COVID-19, the commemoration event is being hosted online.
The event is free and open to the public. To join this online event, visit here.
Ella Sharp Museum’s MLK Program
The Ella Sharp Museum will be hosting an in-person event on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 5:30-7:30 p.m. The event will consist of newly elected Mayor Daniel Mahoney as keynote speaker and Diane Washington, founder of nonprofit youth organization, Young People of Purpose, will be presenting her newly released coloring book. There will also be the unveiling of “Bringing the Village to Life” exhibit, as well as a free planetarium show in the Hurst Planetarium.
The free event is open to the public and will take place at Ella Sharp Museum located at 3225 Fourth Street in Jackson. For more information, visit Ella Sharp Museum’s website.
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