MLK DAY: What it is and what you can do locally

From bowling for charity with Dr. KingPIN to protest marches (OCCUPY THE HOOD) to prayer, songs and schools, the Twin Cities have some way for everybody who wants to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s memory this weekend. 
Why do we celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday? Simply put: it’s the law. President Ronald Regan and Senator Edward Kennedy on November 3, 1983, set aside their political differences to come together for the signing into law of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. By 1986, Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, had helped shape the way his holiday was to be commemorated, stating that on every 3rd Monday in January, “Americans (need) to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. King.”

Dr. King’s transcendent oratory style served as the definitive narration to our nation’s struggle for racial and economic justice for the poor as well as for all races and ethnic groups. King, who was assassinated in 1968, once said, “Everybody can be great.  Because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.”  Twenty-six years later, many Americans recognize King’s legacy by spending a day in service to their community, or sharing stories of triumphs, aspirations of social equity and celebrating our cultural heritage through joyous, engaging events.

The Twin Cities is no exception. From one end of the metropolitan area to the other, opportunities abound for those wishing to attend and participate in events which highlight societal change and cultural leadership. In Minnesota, there are many celebrations that include family-friendly, civic engagement and celebratory events.

Here’s a (partial) list of events you can attend:



  • 31st Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert – honors the late Dr. Reginald Buckner, former University of Minnesota music professor and founder of the MLK, Jr. Concert at Ted Mann Concert Hall.
  • Dr. KingPIN – Mixed Blood Theatre FUNraiser, inviting individuals and teams to bowl for charity at Memory Lanes.

The state’s ‘creme-de-la-creme’ event will be this:

  • Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Holiday Celebration: Looking Back… Moving Forward: I Am My Brother’s Keeper!
    The event begins with a rally for youth (and those who love them,) at Central HS which then becomes a march to Concordia University, half a mile away. It’ll run all day and should have something for everyone to engage in and enjoy. 
  • 3rd Annual HBCU College Fair (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) – St. Peter’s AME
  • OCCUPY THE HOOD MLK Day March and Rally for Jobs & Housing & Justice — Rally at noon at Salvation Army Harbor Light (1010 Currie Ave. No) and March to Mpls. City Hall (350 5th St)

  • MLK Reflective Service – Calvary Church of Minneapolis will feature singing and words of reflection

Photo by Effenk (Creative Commons)


And a personal note from Rachel Dykoski:

I hope to bring my kids to part of the day’s festivities. You can too. Ain’t nuthin’ too it, but to just do it. 

I think President Barack Obama said it best at the dedication of Rev. Dr. King’s monument on the national mall last year, “Nearly half a century has passed since that historic March on Washington, a day when thousands upon thousands gathered for jobs and for freedom.  That is what our schoolchildren remember best when they think of Dr. King -– his booming voice across this Mall, calling on America to make freedom a reality for all of God’s children, prophesizing of a day when the jangling discord of our nation would be transformed into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
YOU can continue the dream. YOU can celebrate. YOU can take action.  All I ask is that you keep trying, striving, surviving and loving one another, on this special day and always.