Help celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of activism, awareness and service by helping others in the community here in Los Angeles. Here are our favorite ways to pay homage to the man and celebrate his lasting message of diversity and love over the holiday weekend.
photo: CAAM via Facebook
California African American Museum
Make your way over to the California African American Museum for their annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. A full day of activities are planned for the whole family beginning with drop-in art activities where everyone can make megaphones to help make their dreams heard, create and decorate posters for change, listen to keynote speakers like Reverend Eddie Anderson and music from The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, culminating in a children’s march around the rose garden, inspired by the Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963. P.S. There will also be food trucks and DJ-provided music to get your groove on.
When: Mon. Jan. 21; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
600 State Dr. Exposition Park
photo: Reese M. via Yelp
34th Annual Kingdom Day Parade
Bring your young leaders out on Mon. Jan. 21 to this annual parade (which, bragalert, happens to be the largest parade in the nation) in celebration of Dr. King. The parade route begins at Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Western and runs to Crenshaw and Vernon in Leimert Park. The celebration will include marching bands, drill teams, local organizations, and lots of floats. This year’s theme is “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Democracy.”
When: Mon. Jan. 21; 10 a.m.
4030 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Peace and Unity Parade and Celebration
If you want to catch a parade on the weekend, grab your camping chairs and head down to Long Beach for a front row seat for the annual Peace and Unity Parade and Celebration. The begins at Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. and Anaheim St. and ends at Martin Luther King Jr. Park for an afternoon music festival. Free parking and shuttles are available to get you to and from the parade.
When: Sat. Jan. 19; 10:30 a.m.
Martin Luther King Park
1950 Lemon Ave.
Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra’s Martin Luther King Weekend Concert
Pop over to the Westside for a special orchestral concert in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. This event is free and will include Steffe’s Battle Hymn of the Republic, Mozart’s Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from The Magic Flute, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 in D Major/D Minor, Op. 107 among others.
Good to Know: Free parking available in the structure at 1212 7th St.
When: Sat. Jan. 19; 2:00 p.m.
525 Wilshire Blvd.
LACMA & Target Free Holiday Monday—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
LACMA will be hosting a free family day so you can celebrate dreams and diversity through art. The museum will be offering bilingual tours and live music from the Dream Phases at 12:30 and 2:45 p.m. Plus, there are all the family favorites like the Boone Children’s Gallery, Chris Burden’s Metropolis II, and the Levitated Mass.
When: Mon. Jan 21; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
photo: Autry Museum of the American West
Autry Museum of the American West
Head out to the Autry and soak in the La Raza Exhibition. La Raza was a bilingual newspaper published from 1967-1977 and was influential in the Chicano Rights Movement. While this exhibition doesn’t focus on Dr. King, the Chicano movement was most definitely influenced by King’s work. Take a walk through with the littles and view the newspaper’s photography that served as a powerful artistic medium and political tool. This exhibit will end Feb. 10, 2019.
When: Tues.–Fri 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.; Sat.–Sun.10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Cost: Adult $14; Kids (13-18) $10; 3-12 ($3); Under 3 are free
4700 Western Heritage Way
The Pasadena MLK Community Coalition
Join this group for a day of celebration, speakers, food, and displays of the winners of their Essay, Visual Arts and Performing Arts contests. Check their website for updates and details.
When: Mon. Jan. 21; 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
McKinley K-8 Arts School
325 S. Oak Knoll
photo: LeTania Kirkland Smith
National Day of Service
Turn this day off into a day “on” and get in the spirit of giving. L.A. Works will be hosting their annual Day of Service on Jan. 21. Volunteers will put their skills to use in various beautification projects throughout the school campus with the goal to enhance the learning environment with color, fresh paint, and murals.
When: Mon. Jan. 21; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
If volunteering in the great outdoors is more your speed, check out the Palos Verdes White Point Nature Preserve’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service volunteer opportunities.
When: Mon. Jan. 21; 9 a.m-12:30 p.m.
photo: Kidspace Children’s Museum
Kidspace Children’s Museum for Unity Days
Join the Pasadena-based museum in celebrating all things MLK, taking place, not just on the weekend but on Mon., too (they’re usually closed!). Celebrate the message of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a community, by spending the day working together. Partner Project Giving Kids will be onsite each morning with service projects for you and your family to participate in. Learn ways you can continue to volunteer to make our communities stronger! At 1:00pm, enjoy a dance
and cultural presentation by California Step Association focusing on the legacy of Dr. King and Black History Month.
When: Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Mon. Jan. 21 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Cost: $14; kids under one are free
480 North Arroyo Blvd.
Pretend City Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
It will be worth the drive to Irvine to join the folks at Pretend City for their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. Here, everyone can have an open conversation about the importance of diversity and respecting everyone’s differences. The family can take part in story time, music and movement and art projects that include self-portraits and the peace dove to keep up the discussion of kindness and respect.
When: Mon. Jan. 21; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $13.95; kids under one are free
photo: via LeTania Kirkland Smith
National Park Service Free on MLK Day
Another great way is to get outside with the family and visit one of our many majestic National Parks. And as an extra incentive, the National Park services open its doors for free on MLK Day. These free days can save $25 to $30 per vehicle at 118 of the more than 400 national parks across the nation, including Joshua Tree, Yosemite and Death Valley parks.
Dr. King’s dream included inclusion for all. We think honoring these protected sites that exist for all is a perfect way to honor his memory.
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——LeTania Kirkland Smith & Andie Huber