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Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King: Virtual Community and Campus Events, Volunteer Opportunities

By Jessica Sinn

milk day poster

milk day poster
Local Volunteer Opportunities

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy, the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) has partnered with Sorority and Fraternity Life to present the 2021 MLK Day of Service, an initiative that connects the university community with safe volunteer opportunities that are in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

Students, faculty and staff are all encouraged to pay tribute to Dr. King by giving back to the community in various ways. Listed below are several organizations that are in immediate need of volunteers as they continue to serve those who have been impacted by the pandemic. Find more remote volunteer opportunities on the CCE’s GivePulse database.


National Volunteer Activities

Join the official national MLK Day of Service effort that runs through Jan. 16-18. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. AmeriCorps has been charged with leading this effort for the past quarter century. Go to this website for more information. 


LBJ School Presents “The Sword and the Shield”

The LBJ School, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD), the LBJ Foundation, BookPeople and Huston-Tillotson University present a special program to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Peniel Joseph, LBJ School professor and CSRD director, will discuss his critically acclaimed book, “The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr” on Monday, Jan. 18. Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, president and CEO of Huston-Tillotson, will moderate. Register here.

Named a TIME 100 must-read book of 2020, one of Financial Times’s Best Books of 2020: Politics, one of TLS Books of the Year and a PEN America Awards Longlist, this dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King upends longstanding preconceptions to transform our understanding of the 20th century’s most iconic leaders.


BFSA MLK Celebration Luncheon

The Black Faculty/Staff Association (BFSA) presents its 16th annual MLK Celebration Luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 11:30 a.m. This year’s theme is “Radical Dreams: A Journey Towards a Better Tomorrow.” Send a direct message to the BFSA via Facebook or Twitter to get a Zoom link. 


Austin Area Heritage Council MLK Activities 

The Austin Area Heritage Council, our longtime community partner, presents a series of events to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visit the Austin Area Heritage Council website for additional information.

Virtual MLK Oratory Competition
What: Finalists from the Austin area elementary schools will compete in a five-minute speech based on the theme, “If Dr. King were alive today, what would you discuss with him in creating change in America. These inspiring young speakers will compete by delivering personally written speeches commemorating Dr. King’s legacy of peace and unity.
When: Thursday, Jan. 14, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Facebook Live

Virtual MLK Youth Legacy Awards
What: Five award recipients will receive a $1,500.00 scholarship courtesy of the Applied Materials Foundation and three award recipients will receive a $2,000.00 scholarship courtesy of the Ascension Seton and five award recipients will receive $1000 scholarship courtesy of Coca-Cola.
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 3 p.m.
Where: Facebook Live

28th Annual MLK Livestream & In-Car Rally
What: The 2021 MLK Celebration ends with the MLK Livestream & In-Car Rally to commemorate the national MLK Day holiday and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multiculturalism in our city. For the tenth consecutive year, attendees are encouraged to donate to the Central Texas Food Bank.  On-site attendance will be extremely limited due to Stage 5 COVID-19 restrictions. Advance registration of vehicles required.
When: Monday, Jan. 18, 10:30 a.m.
Where: St. James Church, 3417 E. MLK Blvd; live-stream via Facebook and YouTube


United Way for Greater Austin

Join the United Way for Greater Austin on Monday, January 18, at 10 a.m. for a virtual gathering honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A Zoom link will be provided via email.

    • Guest speaker Dr. Kazique Prince will share a reflection, and advocacy call to action.
    • Reflect on MLK Jr’s commitment to justice and anti-racism
    • Share practical ways to advocate for change in our community

Go to this website for more information.


Volunteer Center of Lubbock, MLK Jr. Day of Service 2021 

The Volunteer Center of Lubbock is hosting a MLK Day of Service virtual event on Monday, Jan. 18, 12-1 p.m. Hear from Covenant Health’s Chief Diversity Officer and community volunteer/board member extraordinaire Kevin McConic; retired educator and community activist/volunteer Margaret Randle; and East Lubbock Art House Director and Community Organizer Danielle Demetria Demetria East.

Email to register: mcrook@volunteerlubbock.org


Central Arkansas Library System MLK Virtual Day of Service 

The Central Arkansas Library System presents a virtual program on Monday, Jan. 18, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The program will consist of an address from Mayor Frank Scott Jr., a public service panel, a discussion of “March,” and a meet and greet for National Service Members, alumni, and prospects.

Go here for the registration link.