Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day Differently this Year

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change by Rosa C Norman

Sadly, the Kingdom Day Parade, Inglewood’s Kingfest and many other annual events have been cancelled this year due to Omicron, but you can still observe the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. in the safety of your home.

Celebrate Remotely

The California African American Museum (CAAM) in Exposition Park will commemorate this day with this series of virtual programs. From 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. they will be holding a study group where you can “participate in a virtual community reading and discussion about King’s 1967 speech, “A Christmas Sermon on Peace.” Starting at noon, the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” as well as a medley of classic spirituals and original compositions. RSVP and join the event here.

The Nation Museum of African American History and Culture is offering a free, one-hour presentation of History Alive! Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: The Last Five Years at 10 am PST. Living history interpreter John W. McCaskill will chronicle the last five years of King’s life and shares other stories of the individuals who fought to end racial segregation and discrimination in the United States. Join here.

San Francisco’s Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD) will celebrate the national observance of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday with free virtual family-friendly programming from 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm. The schedule follows.

12-1pm Authors in Conversation | FREEDOM! The Story of the Black Panther Party, a discussion with the authors of this new book aimed at young adults.

2-3:15pm Art As We See It | Civil Rights Through Art and Music. MoAD Docents present pairings of art from publicly accessible archives with music of the American Civil Rights Era. The presentation is an informal conversation via chat.

3:30-4pm Art Workshop | Silhouettes MoAD invites you to join a 30-minute guided silhouette shading workshop. This workshop is ideal for ages 5 and up. Learn the basics of shading and blending to explore value in outline drawing. You will need a dull pencil.

Register to join on zoom here. This link will be used for the first three events in the schedule below.
Be of Service

Make MLK Day a Day On, Not a Day Off’. Leadership Long Beach has honored the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a National Day of Service. This year the community has organized two virtual service projects, the ‘Silver Letters Campaign,’ to write to elderly people in care homes and the ‘Community Cares Packages’ project to collect hygiene and household items that they will deliver to low-income families.

VolunteerMatch is a search tool that helps you find the perfect opportunity to be of service. There are a million ways to help out safely from home. For example, you could provide online tutoring, building in Minecraft. social media, data entry, web design, letter writing, fundraising, providing community education, sewing comfort quilts for hospice patients, and foster families for pets are always in need.


Support ESOWON Bookstore in Leimert Park while educating yourself by ordering from their online store. Here are some more black-owned bookstores that sell online. And here is a list of anti-racist books.

If you are looking for something good on Kindle or Audiobooks, try the riveting Hellhound on his Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some of my favorite Civil Rights-era historical books by black authors are Coming of Age in Mississippi, Black Boy and Native Son by Richard Wright, Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and everything by Maya Angelou. A trio of classics, Up from Slavery, The Souls of Black Folk and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass have been collected into one tome and should be a good start.

Support Black-Owned Restaurants

From Long Beach to the Valley, we have a restaurant for you! Treat yourself to cupcakes from Big Man Bakes, fatty brisket from Bludso’s or some catfish from the Serving Spoon. Check out our post from 2020. For a more-inclusive, non-curated list, here is a Google map.


Donate to organizations that are committed to supporting the black community. Here is a list provided by Black Lives Matter. 


Dr. Martin Luther King: An Historical Perspective. Streaming on Amazon Prime

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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