Monday, Jan. 21, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
For some, the national holiday honoring the prominent civil rights activist is a time to give back and serve the community, be it through removing graffiti or picking up litter in a local park.
For others, it’s an opportunity to educate themselves about King and his life's work. And for others, it’s a time to just kick back and enjoy the prolonged weekend.
As part of the 2013 Day of Service in Montgomery County, join other volunteers for service projects at the Civic Center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21. Click here to sign up.
The Music Center at Strathmore on Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda will present a musical tribute and celebration of King’s birthday at 3 p.m Sunday. Tickets are free, but limited to four per person or household. A stand-by line begins at 2 p.m. the day of the concert. For more information on availability check the Strathmore website here.
Take your family to visit the Martin Luther King Memorial. Visitor parking is available along Ohio Drive, SW, between the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials. (The Memorial is also accessed by Metrorail's Smithsonian station, which will be closed on Monday, Jan. 21., but not over the weekend.)
Take your family to visit the Lincoln Memorial. Visitor parking is available along Ohio Drive, SW, near the Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Memorials.
The Bethesda North Conference Center will host a service projects and volunteer fair on Monday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Participants can assist with projects helping children, seniors and veterans, from packing food boxes and lunches for shelters to making fleece blankets for Montgomery Hospice. Learn more at the Montgomery County Volunteer Services website here.
This year’s parade and freedom walk takes place Saturday, rain or shine. Check out the event website for parade routes and times.
The DC area will also celebrate the 57th Presidential Inauguration this weekend through Monday. Plenty of events will coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so make sure you plan well. For inauguration information check the official website here.
So, tell us—What does Martin Luther King Jr. Day mean to you? What are you doing to commemorate King’s legacy?
The Holiday's History
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, now a U.S. holiday, took 15 years to create.
Legislation was first proposed by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) four days after King was assassinated in 1968.
The bill was stalled, but Conyers, along with Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York), pushed for the holiday every legislative session until it was finally passed in 1983, following civil rights marches in Washington.
Then-president Ronald Reagan signed it into law. Yet it was not until 2000 that every U.S. state celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by its name. Before then, states like Utah referred to the holiday more broadly as Human Rights Day.
Now, the Corporation for National and Community Service has declared it an official U.S. Day of Service.
TELL US: What does MLK Day mean to you? Do you know of any service activities that weekend? Tell us in the comments.