Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day marks a national moment for both reflection and service as we come together to commemorate the legacy of Dr. King.
Dr. King’s steadfast advocacy radically altered our country’s legal landscape of civil rights protections, and his legendary leadership inspired generations of activists who carry on his vital work of dismantling the systems of oppression that continue to perpetuate societal injustice, over 50 years after his death. As we honor Dr. King and celebrate the advances in our nation’s civil rights, we also recognize the imperative work that still remains.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
The following resources lay the foundation for learning about the work of Dr. King. The listed books and e-books are available through Penn Libraries.
- Emilie Plesset, “5 of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most memorable speeches,” Washington Week, April 3, 2018;
- Martin Luther King Papers Project, Stanford University;
- Robert K. Vischer, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Morality of Legal Practice: Lessons in Love and Justice (2013). Online access available through the Biddle catalog;
- Thomas F. Jackson, From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Struggle for Economic Justice (2007). Online access available through the Biddle catalog;
- The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism in the North (Mary Lou Finley, Bernard LaFayette Jr., James R. Ralph Jr., & Pam Smith, eds., 2016). Online access available through the Penn catalog.
The following resources critically examine who Dr. King was and what he stood for while celebrating and elevating his activism.
- MLK Day of Service dilutes Dr. Martin Luther King’s political message | Opinion (inquirer.com)
- To understand Martin Luther King Jr., don’t rely on the highlights reel, experts say (nbcnews.com)
- Martin Luther King Jr was a radical. We must not sterilize his legacy | Cornel West | The Guardian
- Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes Whitewashed For America - Essence
- Before you share an MLK quote, understand that you’re quoting a proud political radical - Upworthy
- 10 Must-Watch Documentaries About Martin Luther King Jr. (romper.com)
- King in the Wilderness | HBO
- 8 Fascinating Martin Luther King Jr Documentaries - Best Movies Right Now
- Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy | Special Collection | PBS
This week, there are many ways for Penn community members to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. See below for opportunities to learn, reflect, and serve.
Monday, January 17
9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
MLK Day of Service Kick-Off
The “Kick-Off” begins the Day of Service with speaker Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. Entertainment: Nia-Next, Danse4Nia’s Youth Company, and Inspiration A Capella.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
City-Wide Donation Project
Choose a donation site from the below link and purchase items on the site supply list. Photograph the delivery of the items. Post to your social media platform using #PennMLK.
Contact: Diane Leslie at email@example.com
3rd annual MLK, Jr., Day of Advocacy and Action
This virtual event will feature a panel of experts on the recent Afghan and Haitian crises and give you the opportunity to ask a question. We will conclude with calls for action, including writing letters to your legislators advocating for fair immigration practices.
Noon – 1 p.m.
Penn Reads Literacy Project Lecture
Join this interactive presentation featuring Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas as she focuses on children’s and adolescent books, teaching African American literature, history, and culture in K -12 classrooms. Parents and educators are welcome!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Global Citizen is the host of the annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. The national King Day of Service started in Philadelphia as a small project in 1996 with 1,000 volunteers. It has become a fast-growing nationwide movement that has worked to break down barriers, form ongoing partnerships, and foster understanding about the legacy of Dr. King, particularly among young people.
Global Citizen works with a vast network of community organizations to maintain a comprehensive registry of King Day activity happening on or around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day each year. This portal is set up to help organizers promote and manage these opportunities and let volunteers find the project(s) they are interested in. Read below to figure out how you can work with us to have a meaningful King Day experience.
Volunteer for a Project
Search and explore volunteer and other opportunities for King Day on our portal, and create an account to register and reserve your spot.
January 14th - 17th
2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Celebration!
Theme: Grassroots and Grand Strategies
The African American Museum in Philadelphia and Citizens invite audiences to join us at the Museum for a full weekend of enriching, fun, inspirational, family-friendly activities celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thanks to the generous support of the Citizens Charitable Foundation, we will offer $2 admission on January 15 and 16, and free admission on January 17.
Themed “Grassroots and Grand Strategies,” this year’s event will highlight the continuum of individual and collective efforts to promote equity, celebrate and facilitate generational advancement, and protect the mental and spiritual wellbeing of historically oppressed peoples. AAMP will offer in-person, virtual, and hybrid experiences during MLK Weekend, including a special edition of the Disruption Spotlight and Open Mic quarterly event series; a screening of the film “A King in the Wilderness”; a virtual transcribe-a-thon; public dialogues; a children’s book event; musical performances; and a keynote address by Dr. Kenneth Scott of Beech Companies. The weekend will culminate with an on-site voter registration drive that will serve as an MLK Day service project.
Wednesday, January 19
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
“A Night for Us: An Interactive Session for Black and Asian Communities to Discuss History, Healing, and Solidarity”
Register for the Zoom Link.
Creative Praxis practitioners, Nia Eubanks-Dixon (she/her/we), Creative Praxis Founder and Lead Trainer, and Lanica Angpak (she/her), Creative Praxis Co-Facilitator, will lead our workshop. During this two-hour, healing-centered, art-based training, participants will learn the history and legacy of colonialism and racism and how it impacts our communities, especially the Black and Asian communities, individually and collectively. Using a healing-centered approach, this session will begin to develop holistic practices for building authentic solidarity between our communities in Philadelphia and beyond.
As part of the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium for Change, the African-American Resource Center (AARC) and the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH) are hosting this event for our communities-at-large — within and beyond the University. Mark your calendars, register online, and invite a friend to do the same. Register for the Zoom Link.
We will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. and request all attendees connect with:
* notetaking tools (a pen/pencil and paper/notebook),
* 4 blank sheets of paper,
* (a) crayon(s), marker(s) and/or sharpie(s),
* a glass of (drinking) water.
In partnership and solidarity,
The Solidarity Series Team: Darin Toliver, AARC, Mary Yee, Penn GSE, Peter Van Do, PAACH, Rorujorona Ferrell, Penn Museum
Via Visit Philadelphia:
Philadelphia has an array of fantastic Black-owned and -operated shops, boutiques, and bookstores.
Visitors and locals can shop (both in-person and online) made-to-measure suits with Super Bowl cred (Damari Savile); grab the essentials at the city’s first boutique specializing in natural hair beauty supplies (Marsh + Mane); shop for singular accessories and clothing curated for women of color that exemplify beauty and wellness (The Sable Collective); and peruse history, health and fitness and children’s books at one of the oldest Black-owned bookstores in the country (Hakim’s Bookstore).
Looking to dine and support Black-owned businesses? Check out our guide to Black-owned cafes, coffee shops and eateries.
And for even more Black-owned businesses, check out this community-curated Black Business Friday list and this Philadelphia magazine-maintained list of 300+ Black-owned businesses in Greater Philadelphia.
HIAS: How YOU Can Help
Contact your legislators and advocate for improved immigration policies.
Donate to provide much-needed assistance for immigrants.
Volunteer to help provide a better life for immigrants in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Subscribe to our newsletter to stay current about the ever-changing immigration landscape and upcoming events.
Help us provide affordable housing to immigrants.
Opportunities to explore themes of advocacy and activism will continue throughout the semester. They will include next month’s 41st annual Edward V. Sparer Symposium, “Moving Toward Liberation: Transportation and Mobility Justice.”
This February 11th virtual event will bring together activists, community members, scholars, and students to engage in critical discussions focused on how our nation’s transportation systems exacerbate social inequities, including those of disability access, economic disparity, and racial injustice. Deborah Archer, Professor of Clinical Law, Co-Faculty Director of Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law, and Co-Director of Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program at New York University School of Law will deliver the day’s keynote address.