Nine ways to celebrate MLK Day in Kalamazoo


    Organizations in Kalamazoo planned a number of events to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. (WWMT/File - MGN: Nobel Foundation)

    Organizations in Kalamazoo planned a number of events to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.

    The city's theme this year, Kneeling for Justice Then and Now: As You Choose, aims to "advance social justice and address historical inequality in a non-violent and empathetic manner."

    The community-wide day of service begins at City Hall on W. South St., where volunteers will gather at 8 a.m. Monday.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation begins at 10:50 a.m. at Dalton Theatre, led by keynote speaker Khalid el-Hakim. El-Hakim is the founder and curator of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum Exhibit.

    The mobile museum is an award winning collection of thousands of black memorabilia artifacts. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building at Kalamazoo College. El-Hakim will also be hosting Coffee and Conversations from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Monday.

    Short inspirational speeches, focused discussion and community action plans can all be found at 210 Bernhard Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the MLK Day Teach-In with the theme Bending a Knee for Justice.

    The commemorative walk at 3:30 p.m. will instead be a bus ride from WMU Bernhard Center and Kalamazoo College Red Square to MLK Park.

    Afterward, Mayor Hopewell, Dr. Washington and Pastor Scott from Northside Ministerial Alliance will speak to the community at 4:45 p.m. at MLK Park.

    Bronson Healthcare and Ascension Borgess Hospital will host a community celebration following the ceremony from 5 to 6 p.m. at the State Theatre.

    MLK Day is not limited to Monday, as events take place throughout the week.

    On Tuesday, a party will be held at the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Kalamazoo Regional Program and Training Center from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will honor and celebrate past and present efforts to heal the community.

    The Dr. Lewis Walker Youth Social Justice award presentation will take place at City Hall during the City Commission Meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

    On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Dr. Mark Orbe, Professor in the School of Communication will discuss the contradictions of race in present day society as part of the Institute for Intercultural and Anthropological Studies' Series. The event is from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at 1071 Moore Hall at Western Michigan University.

    There are more events planned to celebrate MLK throughout February.

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