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Posted on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Roundup of Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in Washtenaw County

By Julie Baker

Many organizations are holding community events today in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so if you're looking for a way to observe the day, here's a roundup of what's offered in Washtenaw County.


Director of Civil and Human Rights in the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Sandra Burleson, of Houston, Texas, applies purple paint to a door at the Ann Arbor Community Center on Friday, Jan. 13. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) deliver volunteer workers annually to various non-profits in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Chris Asadian |

  • The Ann Arbor National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host an Achievement Gap Forum to bring to light the challenges that have contributed to poor test scores and graduation rates among blacks and to brainstorm a solution.

    A panel of experts will lead the discussion, and the film “Beyond the Bricks" will be shown. Monday’s event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Michigan Theatre screening room at 603 E. Liberty St.

    Story: NAACP to host MLK Day achievement gap forum with movie, discussion

  • The University of Michigan's Power Center for the Performing Arts will hold a free concert "Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration Concert - The Call to Sacrificial Service" featured the Chamber Choir at 2 p.m. at 121 Fletcher St. in Ann Arbor. No tickets are required. For information, call 734-763-3333.

    Click here to see the events calendar entry.

  • The Ann Arbor District Library will hold a free poetry program for teens and pre-teens from 2-3 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of the Main Branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor. Jeff Kass from the Neutral Zone will lead a poetry program on civil rights, equality, peace and justice.

    For more information on this event call the Library’s Youth Department at 734-327-8301 or visit Click here to see the events calendar entry.

  • The Ypsilanti District Library is holding several free events at its Whittaker Road and Michigan Avenue locations. From 1-3 p.m. at 229 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, hear local musicians Kojo ‘Sankofa’ and Nehanda Rasheedah Gyan-Apenteng, the founders of Indigenous Groove, a versatile musical group originally from Ghana, play soulful African percussion that will certainly stun anyone’s sensibilities. Watch And the Children Shall Lead, a movie set in 1960s Mississippi. Children’s crafts will follow. Contact 734-482-4110 for details.

    Crafts are offered starting at 5:30 p.m. at 5577 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti. At 6:30 p.m., the Erickson Excellence Ensemble will perform patriotic and freedom songs. Following that performance, a documentary about Martin Luther King, Jr. will be shown. Contact 734-482-4110 for details.

    See the events calendar listing.

  • The One World One Family organization of Chelsea is holding the celebration “Music Makes a Difference: Songs of Protest” at 7 p.m. at the Chelsea District Library.

    “We wanted to do something different this year and previous MLK Jr. Day celebrations have been quite elaborate and fantastic,” said Jane Ladio, referring to marches and speakers that have been a part of the event.

    Read the event preview: One World One Family to celebrate MLK Jr. Day in song

  • Obama campaign volunteers across Michigan will spend the day out in their communities, working to honor Dr. King’s legacy by ensuring that all Americans can make their voices heard in 2012. Volunteer teams in Detroit, Pontiac and Ann Arbor will fan out across the region to register local residents to vote. Locally, this will take place from 1-5 p.m. at the University of Michigan Hatcher Graduate Library, 913 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor.

  • The University of Michigan Law School is hosting a program called “Dr. King’s Vision for Economic Justice: Focus on Detroit,” a forum on the future of the city, from 3-5 p.m. in the Robert B. Aikens Commons at the U-M Law School, 625 S. State St., Ann Arbor. The forum will feature Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, New Detroit CEO Shirley R. Stancato, Excellent Schools Detroit CEO and 1994 Michigan Law grad Dan Varner, and Michigan Chronicle Senior Editor Bankole Thompson.

  • Natural Area Preservation (NAP) will lead a volunteer event to honor King’s legacy by working together to remove invasive shrubs from Bluffs Nature Area. The event is from 1-3 p.m. at Bluffs Nature Area. Volunteers should meet in the parking lot of the Elks Lodge at 220 Sunset Road. Dress in layers appropriate for the weather. Volunteers will be using handsaws to cut down invasive shrubs to help promote native plant populations in the park. NAP will provide tools, work gloves, snacks and directions. Hot beverages will be donated by Starbucks Coffee. This event is suitable for most ages, but all minors are required to have a waiver form signed by an adult in order to participate. Click here for more information.

Know of another event missing from our roundup? Add the details in the comments, or email, and we'll add it to the roundup.



Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ? Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

The Black Stallion3

Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

I think I will just have a quit day and read a book


Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

It is a shame that some invoke the name of MLK to push a political agenda. Shame on for playing along.


Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

"push" an agenda when assisting someone in a community? Really? What planet did you come in on? The "it's not my problem so I can't help planet?". Unions are people. Most are excellent workers, educated and know their rights. Talk to the big corps that push political agendas.....oh, I'm sorry, you must be one of the puppets they reach with their lame commercials and if anyone steps up to help's political. WOW, do you need a lesson in volunteering. But, will just come back with pointing the finger at someone else and not looking in your own mirror at the problems of today and thanks for printing real news and not the junk the general media pushes.

rusty shackelford

Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

I'm completely baffled by this comment. Is it actually your contention that MLK had no political agenda? And that people who are inspired by him don't feel that way because they support the same causes he supported? I'd suggest you read literally anything the man ever wrote or said, it might clear up your misunderstanding.