Martin Luther King, Jr. Day–observed this year on Jan. 16–isn't just an extra holiday off of work and school. Groups all across the U.S. use the civil rights pioneer's holiday–proposed by Michigan Congressman John Conyers Jr. in 1968 and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983–as a day to pay tribute, educate, give back and reflect on the things MLK stood for in his lifetime.
Here's a look at some of the events planned in the Dearborn area surrounding MLK Day, and how you can get involved.
MLK Day of Service
For nearly two decades, the has partnered with other local colleges and nonprofit organizations on this annual day of service.
This Monday, Jan. 16, is no different. Students, staff, alumni and community members from UM-Dearborn, Henry Ford Community College and a slew of other colleges and groups will join together to work on several services projects in metro Detroit, including the beautification of schools and removal of invasive species on Belle Isle.
The Day of Service will kick off a week of events with special guests, films, panel discussions and more.
For a full list of events, or to sign up for the Day of Service, visit www.umd.umich.edu/mlk.
Volunteer Day with the Neighborhood Service Organization
The NSO and the National Network for Arab American Communities will partner up on Monday, Jan. 16, to give out food and winter clothing to people in need.
Volunteers–along with nearly 100 youth from , , NSO and Shir Shalom Temple–will spend the day learning about volunteerism, as well as practicing it. From 12-3 p.m. at NSO's Detroit location, they'll be giving out 150 coats, hats, gloves and scarves to people in need, as well as meals.
Contact NNAAC Civic Engagement and Field Coordinator Rachid Elabed for more information at 734-652-3303.
MLK Interfaith Service
The Dearborn Area Ministerial Association will on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m. featuring the voices, foods and prayers of various faiths and ethnicities. Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly and Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko are expected to be in attendance, while choir director Kevin Dewey will lead local voices in a celebration of Dr. King through song.
The event will be held at Our Savior Polish National Catholic Church, located at 610 N. Beech Daly Road in Dearborn Heights.
With Liberty and Justice For All Symposium
The will host its annual tribute to Dr. King from 10 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Jan. 16, including a discussion of civil rights and free admission to the museum all day.
This year's talk with historian Thomas Sugrue will focus on "Driving While Black: The Struggle for Civil Rights on the Road." Sugrue will discuss the impact of Jim Crow America on travel for black Americans, and how activists fought for the right to travel freely without fear of arrest simply for the color of their skin.
Afterward, spend the day visiting the Rosa Parks bus or the with Liberty and Justice For All exhibit, free of charge.
The Detroit Institute of Arts will also be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan 16, with guided tours of the African American art collection at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.