In January, millions of people around the country honored the work and the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by volunteering and participating in special celebrations and events. The federal holiday is observed on the third Monday of January, which is around King’s birthday, January 15 – he would have been 90 this year. Here’s how Greater Flint residents paid tribute to the famous leader of the modern American Civil Rights Movement.
40th Annual City-Wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Dinner
Sponsored by Mott Community College, Davenport University, Kettering University, Baker College of Flint, Hamilton Community Health Network and UM-Flint, the agenda featured a keynote address by Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Dr. Agustin V. Arbulu. Presented by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Planning Committee, the event was held at Downtown Flint’s Riverfront Banquet Center on January 17 and was themed, “A Great Nation Is a Compassionate Nation.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
34th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
On January 21, the Flint Public Library and Flint Institute of Arts commemorated Dr. King’s legacy by inviting the public to enjoy a full day of free activities that emphasized identity, unity and community engagement. Activities included an opportunity for families to make a Peace Dove at the Flint Public Library prior to the afternoon celebration. ABC12’s Matt Franklin hosted a schedule of speakers that included Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Former Senior Advisor and Vice President of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Christopher is the architect of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation process and widely recognized for designing holistic strategies for social change. The program also featured vocalist Adam Baker, Creative Expressions Dance Studio, and a presentation by the Gamma Delta Kudos, sponsored by Phi Delta Kappa. The celebration concluded in the FIA Art School, where participants created family-friendly artwork reflecting Dr. King’s contributions.
Genesee County Habitat for Humanity Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
In honor of Dr. King, thousands of Michiganders volunteered to make an impact in their communities, encouraging individuals to come together to engage in projects that are of appreciable influence on its cities. On January 21, 40 citizen volunteers gathered at GCHFH to build Little Free Libraries that will be distributed throughout different neighborhoods in the City of Flint. The project was created in partnership with the University of Michigan-Flint. A grant from Michigan Community Service and Michigan Nonprofit Association allowed several organizations across the state to support volunteers on MLK Day by tutoring and mentoring children, painting schools and senior centers, delivering meals, building homes, and reflecting on Dr. King’s life and teachings.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
United Way of Genesee County 2019 MLK, Jr. Day of Service
On January 21, volunteers gathered at Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center to pack 80,000 meals to provide to Genesee County residents who are experiencing food insecurity. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that many social ills could be defeated through citizen service. Recognizing that one in five Genesee County families deals with hunger, the United Way of Genesee County is setting out to combat this by engaging neighbors to help neighbors.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Genesee County MLK Mentoring Inspiration Breakfast
To commemorate the holiday and National Mentoring Awareness Month, this annual event engages community members to incorporate mentoring into their lives by volunteering to mentor a youth from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Held on January 21 at Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy in Flint, the popular event was emceed by community leader, Lawrence Moon. The agenda featured breakfast, testimonials, entertainment and a keynote address by Civil Rights Attorney, Charles F. Coleman, Jr. who offered a tribute to Dr. King titled, “An Extraordinary Life.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Photography by Kayce McClure