Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Posted by Abby Rotwein on 1/7/2022

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

January 17th is a federal holiday that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

While many of us know his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech, I encourage you to take some time on this holiday to learn more about his broader work. For example, have you read/viewed his speech “The Other America” or learned about the “Poor People’s Campaign?” Did you know that MLK’s views were considered radical in his lifetime, with two-thirds of Americans viewing him unfavorably in the years before his death? Let’s honor his legacy by moving past popular quotes and towards a deeper understanding of his dream.

MLK day is unique in that the intention of the holiday is not a “day off,” but rather, a “day on.” The purpose of the day is service, learning, and community. There are many volunteer and celebratory events happening in the Portland Metro Area. View the list here. 

Volunteer with SOLVE - Street Clean Up

SOLVE is hosting 4 different clean up projects on Monday, January 17th. Pre-registration is required, please click the link to sign up for an event at one of the locations below:

Waterfront Park at the Burnside Bridge 

The Benson Hotel 

The Standard 

Central Eastside Industrial District

Volunteer with Blanchet House - Care Kits

Blanchet House is recommending making care kits: 

Honor the life and service of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the upcoming holiday by making care kits for the houseless. Bags containing essential items like rain ponchos, hand warmers, socks, and snacks are given out daily to our guests. These kits are so appreciated!

Instructions at BlanchetHouse.org/care-kits.

Volunteer with Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership - Tree Planting

Plant trees and shrubs to restore native habitat and improve water quality of Burnt Bridge Creek!  

Pre-registration is required and space is limited. All ages and abilities are welcome!

Sign up here on eventbrite

Volunteer with Surfrider PDX - Street Clean Up

To honor the spirit and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., join Surfrider Foundation Portland Chapter and the City of Portland for a fourth year in a row (minus 2021), in serving the community and the environment on this National Day of Service. Come volunteer with us and clean up MLK Blvd on Monday January 17, from 10am-12pm.

Read details here.

The Skanner Foundation 36th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast

Monday, January 17, 2022 at 9:00AM (Online Event)

The Skanner Foundation again invites the community to share breakfast and celebrate the life, work, and vision of civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. with its 36th annual celebration the morning of Jan. 17, 2022.

In past years, the breakfast has hosted more than a thousand attendees, often including the governor and both state and U.S. senators and representatives. Out of caution for yet another forecasted surge in the pandemic, the foundation has elected to hold its celebration on a virtual platform for a second year.

For more information, or to purchase a table or make a donation, visit the Skanner web site.

Monday, January 17, 2022 at 3:00PM at the Hollywood Theatre

This historical film documents African-American communities in Oregon honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since 1978, World Arts Foundation, Inc. (WAFI) has hosted an annual MLK tribute event. With King’s work as a guide, KEEP ALIVE THE DREAM highlights pioneering activists, community leaders, artists, musicians, and youth whose valiant efforts have left lasting impacts in Oregon’s African-American community.

In addition to the film, the program will feature live music and a Q & A with community members.

Admission is free but a ticket needs to be claimed for entry: https://hollywoodtheatre.org/events/keep-alive-the-dream/

World Arts Foundation Inc. presents KEEP ALIVE THE DREAM

Monday, January 17, 2022 at 3:00PM at the Hollywood Theatre

This historical film documents African-American communities in Oregon honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since 1978, World Arts Foundation, Inc. (WAFI) has hosted an annual MLK tribute event. With King’s work as a guide, KEEP ALIVE THE DREAM highlights pioneering activists, community leaders, artists, musicians, and youth whose valiant efforts have left lasting impacts in Oregon’s African-American community.

In addition to the film, the program will feature live music and a Q & A with community members.

Admission is free but a ticket needs to be claimed for entry: https://hollywoodtheatre.org/events/keep-alive-the-dream/

United Way of King County's Advancing Racial Equity: A Conversation with Clint Smith

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM PST (Online Event)

Listen and learn from educator, poet, and New York Times bestselling author, Clint Smith and then participate in a discussion with local experts specializing in African American history in our area. 

Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

Please join us to listen, learn and be in community with one another. More information, including tickets are available here.