5 Ways to Celebrate Dr. King

5 Ways to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year’s theme for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is “It Starts With Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Transform Unjust Systems.As we celebrate and commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it can be hard to know just where to start, but we have 5 easy ways to begin cultivating a beloved community:

1. March

MLK Day marchIf your area has an MLK Day march/parade (aka a marade!), bundle up the kids, grab some friends, and join in! It’s a great way to connect with members of your community while honoring one of our nation’s most influential figures.

2. Spend a day in service

two women with wheelbarrowsFind an organization that is committed to fighting social injustice in all its forms and volunteer your time with a day of service. If you are short on time, nonprofits always appreciate donations to help them continue the fight.

3. Visit your local museum or gallery

MLK Museum exhibitMany cities put on special museum exhibits, celebrations, and even concerts on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Can’t find a local exhibit? Take a virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum.

4. Have a movie day

screenshot from Our Friend, MartinPop some popcorn and start with Our Friend, Martin, an animated feature that includes historical footage from different parts of Dr. King’s life. Check your local listings and streaming sites for viewing availability.

5. Read a book (or five!)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an avid reader and writer, and the works of others inspired him as much as his writings inspire us today. We recommend you start with Dr. King’s published titles:

  • Strength to Love. This is a collection of Dr. King’s most requested sermons.
  • Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. Dr. King’s first book; the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the beginning of the Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement.
  • The Trumpet of Conscience. This book is taken from the 1967 Massey Lectures which King gave through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. King addresses issues including the Vietnam War, youth, and civil disobedience and concludes with the “Christmas Sermon for Peace.” Foreword by Coretta Scott King.
  • Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?  An assessment of America’s priorities and a warning that they need to be re-ordered.
  • Why We Can’t Wait.  A 1964 about the nonviolent movement against racial segregation in the United States, and specifically the 1963 Birmingham campaign.

For even more, check out these 20 books that inspired MLK.