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Events to honor Martin Luther King Jr. in West Michigan

Posted at 10:21 PM, Jan 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-20 02:56:38-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Monday, January 20, 2020 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

It is observed on the third Monday of January each year and there are events planned across West Michigan to honor his legacy.

Big Rapids

MLK Day Events Planned on Ferris' Campus
The 34th annual observance of Ferris State University’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations takes place Monday, Jan. 20, on the Big Rapids campus.
At 10 a.m., student groups and other volunteers will depart from the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services for the Operation Safe Sidewalks Day of Service project. Faculty and staff will participate in an in-service presentation in Room 202B of the University Center. The theme for the in-service program is, “What does Martin Luther King, Jr. mean to you?” The Office of Multicultural Student Services has organized the annual Freedom March, which begins at 4 p.m. in the Rankin Atrium Lounge. The Big Rapids community is welcome to join Ferris students, faculty and staff on this journey around the central campus, which returns to the University Center.

Grand Rapids

GRCC, GVSU, Davenport to host Dr. Yusef Salaam, member of Central Park Five

Dr. Yusef Salaam, a member of the exonerated Central Park Five, will serve as keynote speaker for the 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, a partnership between Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State and Davenport universities. The event is planned for 6 p.m. Jan. 20 at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street NE. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m. Salaam, then age 15, was one of five teenagers accused and convicted of attacking a woman who was jogging in New York’s Central Park in 1989. The convictions were overturned in 2002, and the men were exonerated after spending between seven and 13 years of their lives imprisoned. Since his release. Salaam has become a poet, activist and inspirational speaker.

'Selma" movie showing at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School
In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and WMU-Cooley Law School’s Equal Access to Justice Day, the library at the law school’s Grand Rapids campus, 111 Commerce Ave. SW, will host two showings of the movie 'Selma' followed by a discussion on the topic of King’s work in civil rights. The events will be held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and are free for the public to attend. Selma is a 2014 historical drama film based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lewis. WMU-Cooley’s Equal Access to Justice Day suspends classes in observance of MLK Day. Students, faculty and staff devote the day to reflect and attend programs on the role of law and lawyers in protecting the right of everyone and assuring equal access to justice.

Aquinas College Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity is hosting a day of education and celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All daytime classes and athletic practices are canceled so that students may participate in the activities. Starting at 11:30 a.m. there will be a Silent March starting from the Donnelly Center and going around campus. At noon, Dominican Sisters share experiences from the U.S. Southern border at the Donnelly Center. Around 1:15 p.m. there will be an 'Immigration Simulation' at the Donnelly Center. There will also be a speech at 6 p.m. from Dr. Yusef Salaam, member of the Exonerated Five from Netflix’s “When They See Us”.


Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the Holland Museum
Join the Holland Museum on Monday, January 20 in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. with free admission from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can explore how you can change the world and learn about inventors from diverse backgrounds. Family-friendly activities include: Learning about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, participating in a scavenger hunt in the museum galleries to learn about the Civil Rights Movement. You can also learn about inventors with diverse backgrounds who made an impact on their communities, be inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s own words by watching video selection of his speeches, create a make-and-take heart dream catcher craft, paint a stone of hope to add to your garden or windowsill to share how you might change the world.


Community-Wide Day of Service
Kalamazoo residents are encouraged to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by taking part in the annual community-wide day of service. Now in its 19th year, the Community-Wide day of service invites residents to put the teaching and philosophy of Dr. King in action, taking time to volunteer for causes that will make our community stronger and make our city a better place. Community members are invited to participate in any type of community service, for any cause or organization that is important to them. Mayor David Anderson will welcome volunteers with light breakfast at City Hall at 8:30am in the Community Room at City Hall, before community service begins. Starting at 4pm, community members will meet at the Kalamazoo Transportation Center for a commemorative walk to Martin Luther King, Jr. park for a wreath laying ceremony, which is expected to begin around 4:40pm. A community reception will follow at the Kalamazoo State Theatre.