“Most Americans view Martin Luther King Jr. Day as just another day that is given off on the third Monday of every January,” said Fariza Manonva. Unfortunately, as the 10th-grade Brooklyn Bedford Academy High School student noted, too many “people fail to see the genuine significance of this day.”
King remains one of the most eminent civil rights activists in America. Along with other African-American activists, such as Malcolm X, he had a huge impact in the Civil Rights Movement. After his assassination in 1968, there was a proposal to dedicate a day to celebrate his legacy. Although it took many years and dedication from artists such as Stevie Wonder, every third Monday of January became his national holiday.
Many people find celebrating King essential because of the work he did for African-Americans. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of his most remarkable pieces of work. He spoke about equality among Americans and how racism needs to end. Although it continues, it is not as gruesome as it was in the 1960s. African-Americans would not have some of the opportunities we currently enjoy if it wasn’t for King.
“His setbacks only pushed him to go farther,” Zeinabou Abdou, another 10th-grade student from Bedford Academy High School, said. “I wouldn’t have many equal rights as the white man today if it was not for him. He paved the way for many to lead after him.”
Throughout New York City, and indeed the nation and world, many celebrations will take place.
Here is a list of some of the King commemorative events in Brooklyn:
Sunday, Jan. 15, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries will be guest speaking at the First Baptist Church in Crown Heights. This event starts at 10:30 a.m. at 450 Eastern Parkway. The pastor of the church is the Reverend Daryl G. Bloodsaw.
Monday, Jan. 16, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will be having an event. It also starts at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are free and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi will be speaking. BAM is located at 30 Lafayette Ave.
The Emmanuel Baptist Church at 279 Lafayette Ave. will have Dr. Delman Coates from Clinton, Md., speaking. This event will start at 10:30 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., the church will mark the 32nd annual Central Brooklyn Dr. King Family Celebration. This event will have performances by the chorus from the Brooklyn School for Music and Theatre. They will also be having a raffle. The raffle winner will have the opportunity to win a computer. This event is free and open to anyone.
At 4 p.m., a Unity Concert at 856 Pacific Street will feature vocalists singing African-American spirituals, Verdi, Handel and others.
The Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College will be having their 13th annual A Shared Dream MLK Concert. The theater is at 2900 Campus Road. Their tribute and concert for King will start at 6 p.m. New York State Sen. Kevin Parker and A Shared Dream Foundation will be hosting this event. A Shared Dream Foundation’s mission is to continue to celebrate the legacy of King.
Bishop Hezekiah Walker’s Love Fellowship Tabernacle, at 464 Liberty Ave., Brooklyn, will host a noon event, with Borough President Eric Adams as speaker. The sponsor is the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
Prospect Heights High School, at 883 Classon Ave., Brooklyn, has its community program sponsored by the Central Brooklyn Martin Luther King Commission. The 1:30 p.m. event will feature performances and essay, art and poetry contests.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, at 230 Classon Ave., Brooklyn, will host readings from Dr. King’s writings, musical selections by local professional musicians and a panel discussion of the relevance of King’s thoughts and convictions to our present situation, starting at 4 p.m. Here the donation is $15.