This Martin Luther King Jr. Day brings together activists and artists, politicians and the clergy. Here are community events to inspire you, push you to action and entertain.
Keepers of the Dream (Jan. 19)
The Kentucky Center | 501 W. Main St. | kentuckyperformingarts.org | Free | 5-7 p.m.
If there’s an “official” MLK Day event, this one is it — in its 10th year and sponsored in part by the Mayor’s Office, as well as ArtsReach (from the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts) and the River City Drum Corp. Described as “an arts celebration of Dr. King’s vision,” this event features a recitation of King’s “The Other America” speech, the presentation of both the Mayor’s Freedom Award and the ArtsReach Living the Vision Awards and numerous performances, including dance, music and spoken word from ArtsReach Dance, Percussion and Violin Studios from the Chestnut Street Family YMCA, poet Brea Brea, the River City Drum Corp’s percussion ensemble and drumline and more.
‘I Have A Dream’ Speech Screenings (Jan. 20)
Muhammad Ali Center | 144 N. Sixth St. | alicenter.org | Free | 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
It’s one thing to read King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, it’s another to see what it was like when Dr. King originally gave it to 250,000 people outside of the Lincoln Memorial. The Muhammad Ali Center is playing the moment on loop throughout the day, with an 11 a.m. panel discussion featuring the young leaders of the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students and the UCREW Social Entrepreneurship Program who will talk about their efforts to continue the legacy of MLK. Admission to see the rest of the museum is $9-$14, but the screenings and panel are free.
MLK Day of Service (Jan. 20)
Chickasaw Park | 1200 Southwestern Parkway | olmstedparks.org | Free | 1-3 p.m.
There are plenty of Martin Luther King Jr. quotes having to do with service, as Olmsted Parks is quick to remind. One question he once asked was, “What are you doing for others?” Well, on MLK Day, you can look out for your fellow man by cleaning up Louisville’s Chickasaw Park, a “vital asset” to West Louisville, according to organizers. Come ready to clear out invasive plants, clean up the riverbank, plant a tree or chip in with landscaping. Tools, gloves and refreshments are provided, but you’re expected to dress for the weather and bring the right shoes.
Undergo Change: Transforming the Fatigue of Despair to the Buoyancy of Hope (Jan. 20)
St. William Catholic Church | 1226 W. Oak St. | Search Facebook | Free | 1-2:30 p.m.
If there’s an unofficial official MLK Day event, this is it. Louisville social justice groups including The Bail Project: Louisville and Black Lives Matter Louisville put on this afternoon of music, stories, poetry and speeches. The Rev. Brian Wilson will be giving the keynote address, alongside other speakers, such as Quintez Brown, Courier Journal columnist and UofL MLK scholar, and musicians including Scott T. Smith.