[Editor’s Note 1/15/24: The annual MLK Day Parade has been cancelled due to inclement weather. ]
If you’re determined to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day count this year—there are plenty of ways to do so. All over town, museums, cultural institutions, and other organizations are leading programs to ensure that the Civil Rights hero’s legacy is preserved not only on his namesake holiday, but every day, in our communities.
Below are 10 local events—ranging from the Mayor’s annual MLK Day Parade to outdoor cleanups and other acts of service—that will allow you to listen, learn, connect, and engage while upholding the principles that Dr. King used to improve our worldview.
Jan 15: Baltimore City’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade
Though it was shrouded in controversy (after a cancellation by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, and then a last-minute resurrection by the Mayor’s Office) last year, the annual celebration of equity, unity, and justice will once again step off from the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Eutaw Street at noon on Monday, January 15. Bring a lawn chair and position yourself along the parade route to enjoy floats, dancers, and local businesses promoting Dr. King’s messages of peace in our city.
Jan. 15: Chili Bowl Monday
Give back to those who need it most with Muslimat Al-Nisaa Shelter & Inge Benevolent Ministry’s annual event benefitting the city’s unhoused population. Provide neighbors with a hot bowl of chili, warm clothing, and health screenings. Not able to volunteer? Make an impact by donating or drop off supplies to 3708 Liberty Heights Ave. 700 Fallsway, 9 to 3 p.m.
Jan. 15: Civic Works’ Day of Service
While it is a day off for some, it’s a day on for local community service organization Civic Works. Register to participate in one of eight indoor and outdoor volunteer opportunities, including sorting materials at Second Chance, painting over graffiti in Waverly, planting and weeding at Real Food Farm, and cleaning Clifton Mansion. 2701 Saint Lo Drive, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Jan. 15: Friends of Herring Run Parks MLK Day of Service
Lend a hand to the Friends of Herring Run Parks in giving the community greenspace a little TLC. Volunteers are needed to help clean post-flood debris and care for trees. Across from 3867 Shannon Drive., 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Jan 15: MLK Day Family Skate at The Roller Wave
There are only a few weeks left to enjoy this pop-up roller rink at the Baltimore Peninsula. Gather your loved ones to partake in the social sport while honoring its roots as a pastime of Baltimore’s Black community. Tickets range from $10-15. You’re welcome to bring your own skates, or rent a pair for an additional $5. 2455 House St.
Jan. 15: JVC’s Day of Learning
The Associated’s Jewish Connection Network is honoring Dr. King with its annual day of educational opportunities geared toward youth and their families. Spend the day off from school at the Owings Mills JCC, where you can partake in age-appropriate discussions about diversity, as well as crafts and reading with little ones. For kids in grades 3-6, an afternoon program will screen an episode of the television show Black-ish as a conversation starter about how to combat hate in our communities. 3506 Gwynbrook Ave. Owings Mills. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Jan. 15: King Day
Visit the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture to commemorate the holiday and view Vision & Spirit | African American Art: Works from the Bank of America Collection before it comes down. Among the all-day programming on this year’s MLK Day itinerary is an artist talk on Civil Rights Era photojournalism with curator Aaron Bryant; a choral performance by the Morgan State University alumni with Carter Legacy Singers; virtual reality experience I Am a Man, which explores the Memphis Sanitation Workers protests and their aftermath; and screenings of acclaimed documentaries Disruption: Highway to Nowhere and Eroding History. 830 E Pratt St., 11 to 8 p.m.
Jan. 15: American Visionary Art Museum’s Dare to Dream Day
Honor Dr. King’s leadership with a free day full of interactive and creative activities at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). Experience special programming like a collage tribute to MLK by artist Wendell Supreme Shannon, a drum performance by Abu the Flutemaker, an open mic and poetry slam, storytime with children’s book author Carole Boston Weatherford, and a traditional performance by the Keur Khaleyi African Dancers. Be sure to bring an unopened self-care item to donate to the House of Ruth. 800 Key Hwy, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 15: “I Can I Will” Create Peace Workshop
HopeWorks and the Howard County Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission are bringing an interactive experience fostering discussion about ways to create peaceful and healthy communities and relationships. Inspired by the theme of peace in our communities, participants will gather at the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center to create art to inspire healing, equity, and transformation. 8045 Harriet Tubman Lane, Columbia, 1-2 p.m.
Jan. 15: MLK: I Have a Dream
As a way to educate youth about Dr. King’s legacy, Port Discovery is encouraging kids to write down their own dreams for the world and enter them into a raffle. At 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., staff will draw two lucky entries and award their writers a special “Because of Them We Can” box of gifts. 35 Market Place