Subscribe
The Chatter

A Citywide Day of Service to Replace MLK Day Parade

Residents are encouraged to volunteer to celebrate the holiday.

By Michelle Harris | December 7, 2017, 4:19 pm

-Meredith Herzing
The Chatter

A Citywide Day of Service to Replace MLK Day Parade

Residents are encouraged to volunteer to celebrate the holiday.

By Michelle Harris | December 7, 2017, 4:19 pm

-Meredith Herzing

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Update December 13: Mayor Catherine Pugh announced today that the annual MLK Day Parade will continue after receiving complaints from residents and community leaders. 

"I've heard from residents who'd like to continue the tradition of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade & those who'd like to participate in a Day of Service," she said in a tweet. "Why choose—we can do both!"

For the past 17 years, Baltimore has celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a parade through the streets of downtown. But this coming January, Mayor Catherine Pugh has decided to honor his legacy by encouraging others to emulate how he lived his life by hosting a Day of Service in partnership with United Way of Central Maryland.

While many residents and local organizations have practiced a day of service over the years to celebrate the Civil Rights leader’s life, Mayor Pugh believes that the city can make a larger impact if its residents come together

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a public servant who devoted his life to the advancement of civil rights and equality,” she says on her website. “Building on this momentum, Baltimore begins a new tradition to honor this commitment and to encourage community-based organizations to organize and submit service projects that welcome volunteers of all-ages.” 

In lieu of residents lining the street that bears his name to see marching bands, steppers, and floats, residents are encouraged to volunteer in their communities as Dr. King once did. Organizations like Civic Works have already begun accepting volunteers to work on different community lots in East Baltimore to clean up and plant gardens. Many more organizations are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

In years past, the event has attracted hundreds of spectators from all across the region to participate in the festivities. On average, more than 50 groups have participated in the event each year ranging from high school and community bands to color guards, fraternities and sororities, dance squads, and civic organizations.

The East Coast Westsiders marching band has been performing in the parade since its inception 17 years ago. For Marvin McKenstry, Jr., the COO of the band, the parade means just as much to him as the celebration of Dr. King himself. He can’t imagine one without the other. 

“Being able to march down Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd is very special and exciting,” he said. “We don’t care about being out in the cold because we know what this holiday represents and what Dr. King represented—we want to celebrate that.”

Though the parade is clearly an important aspect of celebrating the holiday locally, Pugh insists that this new tradition will appropriately honor Dr. King: “Our communities grow stronger when we all choose to serve.”




Meet The Author
Michelle Harris is the digital content coordinator for Baltimore, where she covers news, community, sports, and beauty.


You May Also Like


News & Community

Ring Bearers

After 162 years in business, the longevity of McShane Bell Foundry takes on added resonance.

The Chatter

Aaron Maybin Helps Shine Spotlight on Cold Schools

Former NFL player turned Baltimore City teacher shines powerful spotlight on school infrastructure.

The Chatter

Dreamers’ Future Still Uncertain As Lawmakers Struggle to Compromise

With no permanent solution for DACA, local immigrants are feeling disheartened.


Sports

Down and Derby

The Charm City Roller Girls whip into a new season.

Arts District

Towson University Professor Explores a Segregated Baltimore Through Film

Voices of Baltimore to screen at Towson, Bowie, and other universities.

The Chatter

The Gun Trace Task Force Case Challenges Ability to Police in Baltimore

Local legal expert explains what needs to be done to prevent further corruption.

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Connect With Us

Most Read


The Land of Kush Opening Second Location in East Baltimore This Fall: Owners talk veganism, creativity, and building a new restaurant from scratch.

Super Bowl Champ Torrey Smith Back For Charity Hoops Game: Former Terps and Ravens star maintains connection to Baltimore.

Giada De Laurentiis Talks About Opening New Horseshoe Casino Restaurant : The celebrity chef takes us on a tour of her trattoria, GDL Italian, opening in April.

The Gun Trace Task Force Case Challenges Ability to Police in Baltimore: Local legal expert explains what needs to be done to prevent further corruption.

Light City Expands to Three Weekends and 14 Neighborhoods : Musical acts to include Grandmaster Flash and G. Love and Special Sauce.