Metro Detroit Honors MLK Day: Where, How to Spend Your Martin Luther King Day

How will you honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday?

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day–observed this year on Jan. 21–isn't just an extra holiday off from work and school. Groups all across the U.S. use the civil rights pioneer's holiday as a day to pay tribute, educate, give back and reflect on the things he stood for in his lifetime.

Michigan Congressman John Conyers Jr. proposed the holiday in 1968 and President Ronald Reagan signed it into law in 1983.

Wyandotte city offices are closed in honor of Martin Luther King Day. The weekly Monday night City Council meeting is canceled. Wyandotte Public Schools also have the day off.

Here's a look at some of the events planned in the region:

MLK Day of Service

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the University of Michigan-Dearborn's partnership with the MLK Day of Service.

Students, staff, alumni and community members from UM-Dearborn, Henry Ford Community College and a slew of other colleges and groups will join together to work on services projects in metro Detroit, including at Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Vista Maria and many other places.

Online registration is closed, but walk-in volunteer opportunities may be available. Those interested can go to the University Center at UM-Dearborn, located at 4901 Evergreen Road, by 8 a.m. Monday morning. Other events throughout the week will also be open to the public.

For a full list of events, visit www.umd.umich.edu/mlk.

Donate a Coat

Don't have a day off to volunteer? The simple act of warmth is just one more way to give back.

All Burlington Coat Factory locations—including the one in Dearborn—are currently hosting a coat drive through Jan. 21. A donation of a gently used coat also gets you a 10 percent off coupon at the store.

Learn more at http://onewarmcoat.org/wcwh.

With Liberty and Justice For All Symposium

The Henry Ford Museum will host its annual tribute to Dr. King from 10-11:30 a.m. Monday, including a discussion of civil rights and free admission to the museum all day.

This year will include remarks by Daniel Krichbaum, director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, as well as a keynote speech and discussion panel with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author Leonard Pitts Jr.

Copies of Leonard Pitts' book Freeman will be available for purchase after the symposium, and the author will be available to sign your copy.

Books & Bookmarks

The Detroit Institute of Arts, normally closed on Mondays, will be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, with certain special exhibits open for viewing. This is also the last day audiences can visit Fabergé: The Rise and Fall.

Also, kids can make handmade books and bookmarks at a drop-in MLK Day workshop from 12-4 p.m.

TV Star and Governor Team Up

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will join Daymond John, star of The Shark Tank and creator of the FUBU fashion brand, in a ceremony honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Oakland University on Monday.

The annual Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards Celebration honors OU students who exemplify King's vision and help promote interracial acceptance and understanding. 

Snyder is scheduled to make remarks during the event; John is the keynote speaker.

John has established himself as a worldwide expert in business, branding and marketing; he has been nicknamed the "godfather of urban fashion."

The celebration is set for 11:30 a.m. Monday in the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms on campus. For interactive and printable maps, visit oakland.edu/map. To learn more about the event, visit the Keeper of the Dream website at oakland.edu/kod.


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