10 ways to virtually celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. this holiday weekend
While this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day festivities may be light on parades and in-person speeches, they will not be lacking in substance, with many celebrations of Dr. King’s life across the country switching to a virtual format. No matter your tastes or time zone, there are myriad ways to celebrate the Black civil rights leader’s legacy this year, including songwriting workshops, virtual concerts, expert panels, pledges to practice empathy and more.
There is no shortage of events and tributes to honor the life and work of the late activist, and for a country observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day remotely this year, Ad Age has compiled a list of 10 virtual celebrations to keep an eye on during this landmark holiday.
Songwriting 101 with the Country Music Hall of Fame
“If you could change the world through song, what would you change and what would you say to inspire that change?” asks the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is hosting a virtual songwriting workshop inspired by the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. tomorrow afternoon. Space is limited, so register now via this link.
Stream the symphony
On Saturday evening at 5 p.m. EST, join the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra for a solo performance of works by Black composers including Florence Price, Thomas Wiggins and Margaret Bonds. The SMSO’s MLK Holiday Concert is free to attend, but advance registration is required; learn more about the event here.
Join a virtual block party
Drop in on a showcase of the upcoming feature film “King Blvd,” which notes that many of the American streets named in his honor don’t reflect his ideals. Attendees will learn about the project from the creative team behind it, participate in a virtual community panel and enjoy a series of spoken word and musical performances. Register for the Sunday afternoon event, which is a fundraiser for L.A.-based youth outreach program CGB Arts, here.
Arlington’s virtual MLK experience tribute
Join Arlington, Va.’s annual civil rights celebration that includes music, films, dancing and spoken word performances. This dynamic experience begins virtually on Sunday evening at 5 p.m. EST, accessible via the event’s landing page here. But don’t worry if you can’t tune in on time; the content will remain archived online for months to come.
Attend the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s concert
The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 35th annual—though first-ever virtual—event to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. includes performances by Grammy Award-winning Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton, Tank and the Bangas’ lead vocalist Tarriona "Tank" Ball and Vy Higgensen's award-winning choir Sing Harlem! Learn more about Monday morning’s concert here.
Learn with the CAAM
For the West Coasters out there, join the California African American Museum for this family-friendly event that includes a musical performance, study groups and discussions of Dr. King’s commitment to social and economic justice. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. in New York) on Monday; details and RSVP information can be found here.
Hear WNYC’s radio celebration
WNYC and its more than 400 affiliate radio stations, in partnership with Harlem’s Apollo Theater, will present its 15th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day radio tribute with guests including Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones. Learn more about the broadcast, which is available for livestreaming, here.
Commit to human rights
For MLK Day this year, Black-owned marketing agency Curiosity Lab is launching the “We Claim 1%” initiative: a mission to get 1% of the U.S. population, which equates to roughly 3.3 million people, to pledge to spread empathy. Be part of the pledge here, and feel free to check out Actually Curious, the emotions-based card game that inspired this year’s campaign, via this link.
Stream discussions on Dr. King’s legacy
Presented by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, this year’s MLK Day program, titled “Voices on King,” brings together nonprofit, corporate and community leaders to “share their personal reflections on the current impact and lasting legacies of Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.” The long-running event, described here, takes place Monday evening at 5 p.m. EST on Facebook and YouTube.
Watch the WWE’s video tribute
To honor Dr. King’s legacy, the WWE cut together a long-form video tribute that will air during “Raw” at 8 p.m. EST on Monday night on USA Network. If you’re unable to tune into the wrestling event, you can check out the WWE’s powerful clip here.