MLK Day Events Planned in Metro Detroit


Imagine a world where celebrating the life of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was not just a vacation day in January, but a point of reset.

This is what Rochelle Riley wants. Riley, Detroit’s director of arts and culture, said there is still a lot of work to be done to make King’s dream come true. It’s fine for people to recite King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, but it’s better to do what he did, she said.

“Fight what he fought for and died for and just use his birthday as a day to re-commit to being who he was,” said Riley, who will be attending an MLK Day celebration this year at Detroit Historical. Museum.

Celebrations are planned in Metro Detroit to mark MLK Day on Monday and carry on its legacy, marking what would have been King’s 87th birthday on Saturday. And many organizers say King’s call to serve those in need resonates even more this year as the pandemic continues.

But with case levels in Michigan at their highest in months, only certain events will unfold in person. Others have moved to a virtual format; some were organized to minimize crowds.

The Detroit Historical Museum, for example, offers free admission all day Monday as well as programming for children and families. This year’s theme, “Give Us the Ballot,” will include a mock election for children, a Renaissance High School choir and a discussion on the importance of voting. Riley will talk about her children’s book, “That They Lived”.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, meanwhile, is hosting a virtual celebration with video presentations starting at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday. This year’s keynote speaker is former US Ambassador and civil rights icon Andrew Young.

The Detroit Phoenix Center hosted an MLK Day of Service in 2021, bringing together "resilient kits" for the youth and families it serves.

In the Township of West Bloomfield, where the school district typically holds a walk each year for MLK Day, organizers have instead put together a list of service projects that residents can pursue throughout the year, said Jennifer Graham. , president of United We Walk. They will also be collecting pantry items from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday for donors to drop off at West Bloomfield High School, as well as a bone marrow drive.

“The pandemic has presented great challenges to many families,” Graham said in an email. “By engaging in various service projects during this difficult time, we can support each other during the pandemic by giving to others and keeping the legacy and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive through service. . “

Riley urges others to make sure King’s life has meaning. This is not to model King’s behavior; rather, it’s “doing your best to make every American feel welcome,” she said.

“However you can do it, whether it’s making sure you listen to someone who says they’ve been abused or speaking out when you see something happening, or just being more caring. . He cared about everyone more than himself, “Riley said. “And in the end, he paid for it with his life.”

Below are a few other MLK Day Events scheduled throughout the weekend.


Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer and Protest: A free jazz concert celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by the Michigan State University College of Music. 3 p.m. at the Fairchild Theater, 542 Auditorium Road, East Lansing.

United, we walk: dream, believe it: Presented by the West Bloomfield School District, a pantry service will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at West Bloomfield High School, 4925 Orchard Lake Road. Other service opportunities throughout the year are also available at


MLK Day 2022: Give us the ballot: A free day of programming from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Detroit Historical Museum in partnership with the Black Historic Sites Committee. The Renaissance High School Choir will perform, in addition to a spoken word performance by Aleca Gleser, a mock election for children and cupcakes between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Campaign for Freedom, Justice and Fairness: 10:00 am by car from Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Highway, Southfield. Capacity is limited to the first 250 cars; registration is compulsory. The virtual program is at 1 p.m.

One day, not a day off: 9:30 am, free virtual and in-person event hosted by Berkley, Royal Oak and their school districts to remember and honor Dr. King. The Detroit Youth Choir will perform at the virtual event. Freedom Walk begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Royal Oak Middle School.

Mass for justice and peace: 11:00 am Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, 9844 Woodward, to pray for peace, justice and continued progress on race relations and the work started by Dr. King.

MLK Virtual Event of the Day at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: Video presentations at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to celebrate Dr. King’s past work and strive to carry on his legacy. Former United Nations Ambassador and Civil Rights Activist Andrew Young is this year’s keynote speaker. Registration is not required.

Oakland University’s 30th Annual Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Celebration: 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the O’Rena at Oakland University with Emmy nominated actor Anthony Anderson from “black-ish” as this year’s keynote speaker.

King: a filmed record … from Montgomery to Memphis: 1 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Detroit Film Theater from the Oscar-nominated 1970 film directed by Richard Kaplan. Restored in its original entirety by the Library of Congress, it features rare images of Dr. King’s speeches, protests and more. To free.

Celebrating the day of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.: A variety of activities planned by Farmington Public Schools, Farmington Public Library, Community Equity Organization and others. There will be a walk at 11 a.m. from the library at the bottom of 12 Mile. Virtual discussions will also take place on diversity, equity and inclusion.


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