The new MLK Jr. Memorial in Washington DC - photo from USA TODAY
WALKER (WZZM) - It's been nearly 30 years since the first national observance of Martin Luther King Day. Dr. King is remembered for being many things... a preacher... a leader... and a visionary. But, at the heart of it all was his commitment to service and community.
Events are happening across the state, and here in West Michigan, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Many of the events encourage people to spend the holiday doing community service projects.
Here is a list of some of the activities in West Michigan.
Grand Valley State University presents Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week
January 20-25, 2014 "Shake the World: Now is the Time" Keynote speakers Chuck D, founder of the legendary rap group Public Enemy, and Jeff Johnson, author and political commentator, are noted for merging the worlds of pop culture, social activism and politics.
Monday, January 20
• 10:00-11:30 a.m.: Concurrent Social Justice Activities Kirkhof Center and Mary Idema Pew Library
• 11:30 a.m.-12:45 pm: Lunch with performance by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Fisk University, Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room
• 1:00 p.m.: Silent March (assemble at Zumberge Hall)
• 1:30 p.m.: Keynote Presentation by Chuck D - Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room
• 2:00-3:30 p.m.: Concurrent Social Justice Activities:
Poverty Simulation: The Poverty Simulation experience is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live as a typical low-income family trying to survive from week to week. *RSVP required. Kirkhof Center, room 2204 (Poverty Simulation times are 9:30-11:30 a.m. or 2:00-4:00 p.m.)
Marathon Readings: Campus community members will read from King's speeches and books. Mary Idema Pew Library, Multipurpose room
Upcycling: "Crafting for Our Community" participants will engage in upcycling crafts: turning pillowcases into dresses, weaving plastic bags into sleeping mats. These items will be donated to local shelters or organizations.*RSVP required. Kirkhof Center, rooms 2263, 2266
Straight Talk: Panel discussion (afternoon session only). Kirkhof Center, room 2270
Film Series: Documentaries and films showcasing King's work will be screened. Kirkhof Center, room 1104
Wednesday, January 22
• 5:00 p.m.: Keynote Presentation by Jeff Johnson, author and political commentator, MSNBC; with performance by the Voices of GVSU at Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room. Note: This program will be webcast to the Eberhard Center, second floor auditorium, see www.gvsu.edu/mlk for details.
Thursday, January 23
•4:00 p.m.: Panel Discussion: The Continuing Trial of Trayvon Martin: Profiling and Privilege - Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room
Saturday, January 25
•9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.: Day of Service, coordinated by Community Service Learning Center. Volunteers will meet at the DeVos Center then travel to sites. *RSVP required.
Concurrent Social Justice Activities Community Events in Grand Rapids at Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport University:
Sunday, January 19 MLK Celebration Service
• 6:00 p.m.: Living Word Christian Center 1534 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Grand Rapids. Keynote Speaker: Pastor Daniel Oglesby; performance by Fisk Jubilee Singers Monday, January 20 Community Peace March
• Noon: Assembles at GRCC Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse
• 12:30 p.m.: Program, GRCC Ford Fieldhouse Featuring performances by GRCC and Kent ISD students Davenport University Silent March, Celebration
• 12:30 p.m.: Sneden Auditorium, Lettinga Campus Davenport University Community Service Project
• 2:30 p.m.: Sneden Auditorium, Lettinga Campus 28th Annual Commemoration Program• 6:30-8:30 p.m.: GRCC Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse Tuesday, January 21Davenport University Program
• 10:00 a.m.: Keynote Speaker: Chuck D Sneden Auditorium, Lettinga Campus