Celebrated on the third Monday of January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service that celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy.
On this day each year, countless Americans across the country step up and volunteer all with the goal of leaving a positive impact in one's community.
With this in mind, many organizations in our area are holding events to commemorate Dr. King.
Whether you decide to help clean a park, become a mentor, assist someone who is facing a hardship, or join a discussion to gain more insight, there are countless of events happening around the tri-state area to keep MLK's memory and legacy alive.
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Hunger Free America's MLK Serve-A-Thon in NYC
Hunger Free America has honored MLK Day with a service and action for years. This year, the organization's Serve-A-Thon will focus on a series of virtual and in-person events, in partnership with other non-profits and the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
Locally, Serve-A-Thon events are scheduled to take place from Jan. 14 to 17 in the following locations:
- Saturday, Jan. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Connected Chef Farm Stand, located at 49-05 5th Street, Long Island City, Queens;
- Sunday, Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kehilat Food Pantry, located at 150-62 78th Rd, Flushing, Queens, New York;
- Monday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kehilat Food Pantry, located at 150-62 78th Rd, Flushing, Queens, New York.
"As a global pandemic and the fight for racial justice rage on, it is more important than ever to uplift Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of justice," the organization said.
Hunger Free America is an organization that focuses on policy advocacy to help struggling Americans. The organization conducts research on food benefits programs and issues that low-income Americans face.
For more information on the Serve-A-Thon, click here.
To celebrate MLK Day, NYC Parks has a number of volunteering events to help clean up and care for parks across the five boroughs.
For more information and a list of participating locations, click here.
BAM CELEBRATES MLK DAY WITH VISUAL ART
The Brooklyn Academy of Music, also known as BAM, is celebrating this year's MLK Day with visual art entitles, "Salvation: A State of Being.”
The public art group exhibition, which explores Black artistry as a form of visual activism, will be displayed on a loop on a digital billboard located on the corner of Flatbush and Lafayette avenues from Friday, Jan. 14, to Jan. 21.
The exhibition will feature works by seven Black photographers— Adama Delphine Fawundu, Genevieve Gaignard, Jamel Shabazz, Frank Stewart, Roscoè B. Thické III, Deborah Willis, and Joshua Woods. The project, which is spearheaded by BAM Guest Curator-at-Large, Larry Ossei-Mensah, aims to start civic discourse in Brooklyn around Dr. King’s legacy and encourage viewers to reflect on: What is love? What is next in the journey towards liberation?
BROOKLYN CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
The Brooklyn Children's Museum, located at 145 Brooklyn Avenue (Brooklyn), is hosting events throughout the weekend and Monday to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Interactive performances, protest marches, community art programs, and volunteer projects are scheduled.
MONDAY, JAN. 17
AM Session: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
10:15 – 10:45 a.m.: Repair the World volunteer project
10:15 – 10:45 a.m.: Shadow Puppets with Nehprii Amenii
10:45 – 11:30 a.m.: Fyütch poster making and musical procession
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.: Repair the World volunteer project
11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Shadow Puppets with Nehprii Amenii
11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Repair the World volunteer project
12:15 – 1:00 p.m.: Fyütch poster making and musical procession
Ongoing: ColorLab Community Dream Cloud
PM Session: 2 – 5 p.m.
2:15 – 2:45 p.m.: Repair the World volunteer project
2:15 – 2:45 p.m.: Shadow Puppets with Nehprii Amenii
2:45 – 3:30 p.m.: Fyütch poster making and musical procession
3:00 – 3:30 p.m.: Repair the World volunteer project
3:45 – 4:15 p.m.: Shadow Puppets with Nehprii Amenii
3:45 – 4:15 p.m.: Repair the World volunteer project
4:15 – 5:00 p.m.: Fyütch poster making and musical procession
Ongoing: ColorLab Community Dream Cloud
For more information on the museum's MLK weekend activities, including ticket prices, click here.
STAMFORD JCC'S JCARES MLK DAY OF SERVICE
Stamford JCC has a list of events taking place throughout the Connecticut city in order to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy, including a park cleanup, donation drive, food prep, as well as an in-person film screening and virtual book discussion.
For more information on the events scheduled, click here.
QUEENS COLLEGE VIRTUAL MLK CELEBRATION
Queens College is hosting a virtual MLK Celebration featuring speakers, performances and video presentations.
The event is scheduled to take place Sunday, Jan. 17 starting at 3 p.m.
For more information, click here.
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO VOLUNTEER
There are countless other opportunities for volunteering on MLK Day of Service or year round. The following websites can help you get started:
- Volunteer New York: Find an updated list of volunteering opportunities year-round across New York City.
- New Jersey's Martin Luther King Commemorative Commission: This commission provides information on events taking place across the Garden State that keep the civil rights leader's legacy alive.
- Jersey Cares: This nonprofit organization, established in 1993, recruits and engages volunteers in efforts that address community-identified needs. They provide an extensive list of volunteering opportunities taking place in honor of Dr. King.