Martin Luther King Day Celebrations Will Be Held Virtually in 2021

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Martin Luther King Day of Service — MLK Day — will be celebrated unlike any year before due to the rising tensions growing in the United States. Due to COVID-19, outcries for social justice, and political unrest people will have to celebrate MLK Day a bit differently this Jan. 18, 2021.

King was a Baptist minister and social activist who played a major role in the American civil rights movement. From the mid-1950s until his death in 1968 King sought equality and human rights for African Americans.

Through peaceful protests, he and his followers fought for all victims of injustice and the economically disadvantaged. King was the hidden motivation behind many watershed events. For example, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington in 1963.

These events helped bring the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act into legislation. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Ever since it became a national holiday in 1983 — MLK Day has been celebrated every third Monday in January.

KingKing was born in Atlanta, Georgia on Jan. 15, 1929. He grew up in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood — where many of the U.S.’s most prosperous and prominent African Americans hailed from.

This year the typical forms of remembrance — i.e. marches and parades — will have to be placed on pause. Which has been the case for most holiday celebrations since the start of the pandemic. This year the political unrest — and social justice outcry — has caused even more stress for this peaceful celebration.

Due to this stress, most people will be celebrating King via virtual platforms. Eric L. Adams — the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Brooklyn’s borough president — will be co-hosting an event that will begin at 11 a.m. EST. This event will include a keynote address from one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Alicia Garza.

There will also be spoken word performances and music from Tarriona “Tank” Ball, PJ Morton, Sing Halem! along with others. This celebration will stream on the bam dot org website. Afterward, it will be on BAM’s Youtube and Vimeo channels.

Other people have planned similar virtual events for people to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Being able to hold virtual events will help keep the spread of COVID-19 down.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

The New York Times: Martin Luther King Jr. Day: 9 Ways to Honor His Legacy; by Alexis Soloski

History: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Featured Image Courtesy of wiredforlego’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inline Image by IISG Photograph: Ben van Meerendonk Derivative work: Jahobr Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License

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