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Since 1986, the third Monday of January has been a national holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Government offices are closed, but many people get extra active and spend the day participating in marches, church services, and community service efforts to honor the civil rights icon.

Just like in previous years, Queens hosts a variety of solemn, fun, enriching and entertaining events. Some take place on the actual holiday, while others unfold over the weekend or even the month. A list of local MLK Day activities follows.

As mentioned in a previous QNS post, Flushing’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts will present Sweet Honey in the Rock, an a cappella ensemble consisting entirely of African American women, on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 4 p.m. The group, which has received three Grammy nominations over a multi-decade career, will sing and act out songs that tell the African-American experience.

The concert is part of a larger festival that includes a keynote speech by New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, the first African-American woman ever elected to a citywide post in New York City, and the presentation of a life-time achievement award to Hazel N. Dukes, a former president of the NAACP. Tickets are $35, but QNS readers can get $10 discounts here.

The Lewis H. Latimer House, an NYC Landmark in Flushing where the namesake scientist/poet/Renaissance man lived in the 1800s, will offer a free screening and discussion of the film “Dear White People” as part of its 2018 Race and Immigration Film Series on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 2:30 p.m.

The comedy, which was released by Justin Simien in 2014, pokes fun at racism, hypocrisy, interracial dating, blind spots, and overreactions via the experiences of African-American students at a fictional, majority-white Ivy League school called “Winchester University.” Basically, no character is let off the hook, and a variety of plots converge at a campus party that goes awry. The screening is free, but RSVP is required.

In Jamaica, SayCheeze Entertainment will spearhead the Frozen Kids Festival at the York College Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m. Admission is $25. The day’s activities will include a slime bar, a glitter tattoo station, balloon sculptures, and a show with KDW (Kicking Down Walls), 2 Milly, and DJ Lil Man.

Meanwhile over in Forest Hills, Patricia Bernstein will discuss, sell and sign copies of her new book, “Ten Dollars To Hate: The Texas Man Who Fought the Klan,” at the Central Queens Y on Monday, Jan. 15, at 1:30 p.m. There’s $5 suggested donation.

On the same day, the same agency will hold a Winter Blood Drive and a day of volunteer service in conjunction with the UFA-Federation of New York. Activities include painting a community mural, serving lunch to seniors, making care packages for seniors and survivors of domestic violence, gardening, and a day of games, crafts and performance at P.S. 21 in Flushing.

Over a longer time span, the Queens Library will host Martin Luther King-inspired events throughout January and February. Activities include a performance by the Harlem Repertory Theatre, quilting, poetry readings, movie screenings, learning opportunities, art projects, storytime, and discussions.

Martin Luther King is one of the most accomplished figures in the history of the United States. Beyond being a civil rights icon, he was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, preacher, community organizer, orator, activist, and ultimately a martyr for his causes.

Images: The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change


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