Brooklyn Celebrates MLK Day in a Year Like No Other

Monday, January 18, is Martin Luther King Jr. day. A week after the attack on the Capitol, in the middle of a global pandemic, and a year of Black Lives Matter protests, it is a timely reminder of the legacy of the civil rights activist who championed non-violent protest to bring about legislative changes to end racial discrimination. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, and the Federal Holiday celebrates his birthday, which falls on January 15.

Leading up to the main celebration at BAM on Monday, here’s how you can participate.

Forest restoration volunteer session at Canarsie Park

Sunday, January 17, from 9 am to 12 pm. NYC Parks Stewardship Team welcomes volunteers to help remove debris from the park and learn how to identify and safely remove invasive plants. Volunteers are asked to come dressed in sturdy boots or shoes, long pants, and clothing they can get dirty, and, of course, wear a mask. Space for this event is limited, and volunteers under 18 must come with a chaperone. 

BCM’s MLK Day event sheet

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights will host service workshops led by Repair the World Brooklyn, a jewish organization that works within the community of Central Brooklyn through volunteer groups to make it a “more equitable place” for all, according to their website.  With Repair the World Brooklyn, people can learn about volunteer opportunities and pack PPE for people in need. Through a Facebook post, the BCM will also teach volunteers about social justice in their work with community service. Children will be able to learn freedom songs with singer imani uzuri, explore shadow puppets with Nehprii Amenii, and create community art in the museum’s ColorLab art studio. 

35th annual Brooklyn Tribute to MLK organized by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Brooklyn Information and Culture (BRIC) the virtual event will feature activists, public figures, and civic leaders, alongside musicians and other performers. The event will start at 11 am. Alica Garza, the author of The Purpose of Power, and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement will deliver a keynote. Performers also will include musicians, PJ Morton, Sing! Harlem choir, and Tarriona “Tank” Ball, poets Timothy DuWhite and Ashley August

 

The Brooklyn Museum will host a virtual workshop for educators in honor of MLK day. The event will open with a keynote lecture by Keonna Hendrick, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access at the Brooklyn Museum who will share her strategies for using the arts as a tool for racial justice. During the afternoon, the museum will hold two sessions. The first event is titled “Looking Through an Antiracist Lens,” which will address how antiracist pedagogy can be applied to curatorial practices through a study on the works of American and Mexican artist Elizabeth Catlett. The second session, “The Afrofuturist City,” explores Afrofuturism as a teaching tool through group discussions, writing, and art-making with ray ferreira, an artist and Guided Gallery Visit Coordinator at the museum. 

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) will host a virtual Family Storytime from the Mill Basin Library. Librarian “Ms. Anna” will read books Kindness Makes Us Stronger, I am Perfectly Designed, and When We Begin at 9:30 am. The video will premiere on the Mill Basin Library’s Facebook page and remain on the page for 48 hours. 

The Wyckoff House Museum will host a day of service on Monday to “maintain and winterize” the Fidler-Wyckoff park. The museum needs volunteers to help rake leaves, maintain garden beds, and process compost. Volunteers are asked to dress warmly, in clothes suitable for outdoor work, durable shoes, wear a mask, and to bring refillable water and snacks. Following CDC guidelines, the museum advises maintaining a 6-feet distance between farm staff and volunteers, and each volunteer must complete a COVID-19 survey when they arrive. Those who wish to volunteer must reserve their spot through the museum’s Eventbrite page

Brooklyn Relief Kitchen’s MLK Day event

Brooklyn Relief Kitchen will work with Private Piccasos, a virtual and mobile art studio in Park Slope, to host a food pantry drop off and a “creative break.” Adults and children are invited to draw or write something they are grateful for on pre-made leaves that will be added to the studio’s “Gratitude Tree.” The event will begin at 10 am and end at 5 pm and a RSVP is not required. The food drive will continue on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. 

Those who attend the event are asked to wear a mask and bring canned goods and create art, according to the organization’s Facebook page

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Anna Conkling

Anna Conkling is a reporter at Bklyner. She is a senior at The New School majoring in Journalism and Design.

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