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MLK Day Events: Celebrate the life, legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Posted at 8:58 AM, Jan 17, 2022

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — On Monday, the country will come together to honor the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In West Michigan, many events are taking place to enhance those celebrations and to remind people why the day is so important.

Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights movement until his death in 1968.

While this federal holiday is dedicated as a National Day of Service to encourage Americans to better their communities, many of the events will also focus on today's social climate and how to get better from here.

In Kalamazoo, "The time is always right to do what is right" is the theme for Martin Luther King Jr.'s celebration with both in-person and virtual events taking place throughout the city.

Those events will be held by Western Michigan University and its local partners.

At the forefront, a community-wide day of service is being held. Community members were able to sign-up for volunteer opportunities throughout the area. There will also be a ceremony at MLK Memorial Park (507 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007) in the afternoon on Monday. T-shirts and lunch vouchers will be available at volunteer sites.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a panel discussion on the MLK Day theme and a policy discussion with local elected officials in the WMU Bernhard Center's ballroom (1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008).

A laying of the wreath ceremony will take place at 4:40 p.m. at MLK Memorial Park with a commemorative dinner following at WMU's Valley Dining Center (1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Meal plans cost $11.50 and can be paid for using dining dollars, cash or credit.

In Grand Rapids, a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic is being held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in conjunction with MLK Day at Brown-Hutcherson Ministries (618 Jefferson Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503).

The goal of the clinic is to increase the vaccination rate among African Americans in the community and to build a greater awareness of the positive impact of the vaccine. People can simply walk in and register on-site.

Ferris State University will also be hosting MLK Day celebrations through a "Let the Freedom Ring" zoom presentation at 10 a.m. Any interested participants had to sign-up by January 10.

A "Freedom March" will take place on campus beginning at 4 p.m. Marchers will leave from the Rankin Atrium on the lower level of the University Center.

Following, award-winning civil rights activist Joan Trumpauer Mulholland will speak in Rooms 202 A/B of the University Center Ballroom at 5 p.m.

MLK Day events in Kalamazoo also continue into Tuesday with a virtual presentation recognizing children and teens for their accomplishments and leadership in the areas of racial and social justice. The event will take place at 7 p.m. and will be live streamed through the City of Kalamazoo's Facebook page and YouTube Channel.

Ferris State University's MLK Day events will conclude on Wednesday evening with a zoom presentation of the annual Student Tribute to Dr. King.