This year marks 40 years since Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday has been recognized as a federal holiday and 55 years since his assassination. He would be turning 94, were he alive today.
The influential civil rights movement leader’s message is often boiled down to four words — “I have a dream” — that he uttered during a speech in which he advocated racial unity. But his civil disobedience was far more wide-ranging, with efforts backing labor rights, opposing the Vietnam War, and spearheading the Poor People’s Campaign.
Here are five events on Long Island celebrating his legacy.
MLK DAY KIDS BOOK CLUB
Join librarians for a reading, discussion, and activities about Martin Luther King Jr. For kids in grades K-6. An adult must stay with any children under 12 years of age. Children’s Room, Lakeview Public Library, 1120 Woodfield Rd., Rockville Centre, 5 p.m. Jan. 12.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. PARADE AND CELEBRATION
The event will return for its 35th year after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Community members are encouraged to attend the event to honor and celebrate the life and values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The 2023 festivities will begin with the parade kickoff at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street, followed by the park celebration from noon to 5 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park (1950 Lemon Ave.). The park celebration will include a main stage with performances, a health and wellness area, a youth area, food and merchandise vendors, and information booths. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Long Beach. 10 a.m. Jan. 14.
MLK DAY OF REFLECTION PARADE & CEREMONY
The United People Organization, Inc. with the Village of Hempstead hosts their 30th annual parade leading up to the ceremony at Bethlehem Judea Church. A ceremony will then follow at 10am at Bethlehem of Judea Church: 83 Greenwich St., Hempstead. Parade steps off at Kennedy Memorial Park, 335 Greenwich St., Hempstead. villageofhempstead.org 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Jan. 16.
CELEBRATE MARTIN LUTHER KING: DREAMS DO COME TRUE
Jerome “City” Smith and the City Sounds Music Ensemble celebrate the birthday and the legacy of the extraordinary Dr. King in a free live performance. Elmont Memorial Library Theatre, 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont, Elmontlibrary.org Free. 1 p.m. Jan. 16.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION: DAY OF SERVICE
The Mothers Club of Wheatley Heights, Concerned Fathers Association and Half Hollow Hills Community Library present poetry, music and songs honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Open to all. Half Hollow Hills Community Library, 55 Vanderbilt Pkwy., Dix Hills, hhhlibrary.org Free. 2 p.m. Jan. 16.