Here are my top eight suggestions for celebrating MLK weekend in New York. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that life’s urgent question is: ”What are you doing for others?” Every year President Barack Obama’s national call to public service includes the MLK Day of Service as part of his “United We Serve.” Check the website to find out how you can volunteer. Just do it!
Brooklyn’s 28th annual MLK Day at BAM, 10am, Monday, 1/20. (Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave. between St. Felix & Ashland Place.) Besides the San Diego MLK Parade that my brother managed in California for years, Brooklyn’s MLK event is by far my favorite and considered NYC’s best. This year civil rights activist Angela Davis will be the keynote speaker. The program includes jazz vocalist Jose James and the Christian Cultural Center Choir. It is free. Tickets are distributed at 8am on a first-come-first–served basis.
16th Annual NY MLK, Jr. Interfaith Observance for Religious & Racial Harmony, Sunday, 2pm, January 19, will feature interfaith songs, inspirational messages from religious leaders and a silent march from three sites (includes a free bus ride to each site) Words of Inspiration, 2pm at Islamic Cultural Center of NY, 1711 Third Avenue (97th Street). Board bus at 2:30 pm to go to Sutton Place Synagogue, 225 East 51st Street. Program at 3pm. Leave Synagogue at 3:30 pm for “Silent Prayer March” to St. Bartholomew’s Church, Park Avenue and 51st Street for interfaith services at 4pm. Program concludes at 5:30 with inspiring words from a variety religious leaders and the amazing choirs of King Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, Children’s Choir of PS 56 and the United Nations Singers. Space on the buses is limited. RSVP at 718-589-7858 ext. 30.
SOB’s 2nd Annual MLK, Jr Celebration will highlight a special tribute to Nelson Mandela featuring lyricist Talib Kwali, 8pm, Sunday, 1/19.
For the children, Mommy Poppins' bloggers suggest an Interfaith Peace Walk on the Upper West Side, 2pm, Monday 1/20, free. Meet at the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, 207 West 96th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Several churches, synagogues, temples and mosques will be visited and then the group returns back to the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus for reflection.
MLK Weekend at Brooklyn Children's Museum, 1/18-1/20, 145 Brooklyn Avenue between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place. Times vary. Free with admission: $9. BCM offers interactive activities that teach children about MLK’s dream through peace-themed crafts. Older children create poster art for a museum-wide peace march. The Berean Community Drumline is set to perform at 1:30pm on Monday 1/20.
Harlem Walking Tours by the Big Apple Walking Tour explores this iconic and historic neighborhood. Advanced reservations required, 1/17-1/20.
WNYC Radio’s Annual Apollo Harlem Uptown “MLK Tribute” is set for Sunday, January 19, 3pm. Co-hosted by Brian Lehrer and Farai Chideya. The panelists and presenters include: Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, Nelson George, Dr. Christina Greer, Rev. Peter Heltzel, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Dr. Peniel Joseph, Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Dr. Pedro Noguera, Rev. Brandeis Raushenbush, Rev. Donna Schaper, Dr. Jan Willis, Melinda Weekes-Laidlow and Brett Ian Wright. Performers: Vernon Reid, Morley, Gospel for Teens Choir.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is January 20, 2014. It is a national holiday and celebrated in many cities throughout the month of January. Banks and government offices will be closed. But most stores and businesses will be open.