Service, prayer in store for King holiday

Late civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. would be turning 82 years old this month and celebrations will take place around the city on Jan. 15 to 17 to commemorate the reverend’s life, with events ranging from spoken word performances to community banquets.
The Reverend King on one of his many marches for civil rights.The Reverend King on one of his many marches for civil rights.

The Greater Boston-Roxbury YMCA is honoring King’s legacy with the 3rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Breakfast on Jan. 15. The event will be held at the Roxbury YMCA and will raise money for the branch’s scholarship fund. Young members will be showcasing their talents during the morning; there will be performances in ballet, singing, and a reading from the winner of an MLK essay contest, in addition to speeches from the president of the YMCA of Greater Boston, Kevin Washington, and the new president of the Boston division of the NAACP, Mike Curry. Ticket donations start at $30, and can be purchased from May Vaughn at mvaughn@ymcaboston.org or 617-318-1402.

Bring your young one for a bus ride with Rosa Parks at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s production of “Rosa’s Ride.” Flying Ship Productions’ free morning show is a musical story based on the life of the woman who sat down for civil rights. Performances by the museum’s Celebrate! series focus on America’s cultural diversity and are geared toward families and children ages five and up. Reservations are required and can be made at 617-514-1644 or at JFKcelebrate@nara.gov.

Local men, women and youth who have displayed admirable leadership qualities will be honored at the Caribbean Foundation of Boston’s 27th Testimonial Appreciations Awards Banquet on Jan. 16. Executive director Beulah Providence said the foundation sent out letters to neighboring organizations asking them to honor someone who they think has contributed to building the community. The banquet, which has the theme of “bridging the gap between Dr. King’s dream and [President Obama’s] mission,” will be held at Dorchester’s William E. Reed auditorium at 3 p.m. Tickets are $50 and can be bought at Nubian Notion at 146 Dudley St. or at 617-445-1228.

Commemorate Dr. King’s birthday with food, live music and over 1,000 other guests at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The celebration features keynote speaker Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, an associate professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University, author, and MSNBC commentator. Proceeds benefit student scholarships and community programs for the Union United Methodist Church and St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church. Tickets can be purchased at mlkbreakfastboston.org or at 617-536-0872.

To keep the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy of service, the City of Boston and Boston Cares have organized several community service projects at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain. Activities range from making Valentine’s Day Cards for the Walnut Street Center to creating dental kits for the Womens’ Lunch Place. Two volunteer sessions will be held, one from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and another from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The event is all ages; registration is at the Boston Cares website, bostoncares.org or through the City of Boston calendar section, cityofboston.gov/calendar.

After a morning of volunteering, head to Fanueil Hall at 1 p.m. for A Day of Service and Celebration in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., a free tribute concert of spoken word and music sponsored by The Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events, the Museum of African American History and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO). Distinguished poet and activist Nikki Giovanni will deliver the keynote speech, and BYSO’s Intensive Community Program will perform classical music and freedom songs. There will also be readings of memorable passages from some of Dr. King’s writings and speeches from a roster of local leaders, including Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Roderick Ireland.

For over ten years, Northeastern University has hosted the King Day of Service & Leadership. This year, the school has partnered with the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship to offer members of the community a chance to give back. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. volunteers can take part in a combination of service projects and leadership workshops at either on- or off-campus sites. This year’s event will also feature a member of the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship’s first Youth Board as the Youth Keynote Speaker. Lunch will be provided. Register online at http://www.masspromisefellows.org/mlk.html.
Give the gift of life at the St. Katharine Drexel Church’s blood drive on Jan. 17. The blood drive will go from noon until 5 p.m. and is to benefit the more than 70,000 children in the African, African-American, Caribbean and Latino communities with sickle cell disease. To make an appointment for the blood drive call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or newenglandblood.org.

Reverend Michael Haynes will be the first speaker of the New Year for Discover Roxbury and Haley House’s History Speaker series. Rev. Haynes, who became staff of the 12th Baptist Church in the fall of 1951, the same time as King, will speak on growing up in Lower Roxbury and his work with the late reverend. The event is free and begins at 7 p.m. at the Haley House Bakery Café at 12 Dade St.