But that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun, too. Take a look around and you'll find tons of people looking to have a good time while honoring the life and accomplishments of the Nobel Prize winner who fought to end segregation and took the Civil Rights Movement to a whole new level.
MLK Day means a lot more than chugging down cold beers and eating hot barbecue. So this year, do more than just hang out with your buddies - grab your friends and hit the streets to celebrate the three-day weekend, MLK style!
3rd ANNUAL DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. CELEBRATION
Sunday, Jan. 16 @ 4 p.m.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Head to the Hollywood Hills and join the MLK celebration that will take place at the picturesque Forest Lawn Memorial Park. In honor of Dr. King's dreams of diversity and acceptance, an art reception will feature photos captured around the world by a professional photojournalist. Arrive early to catch the photographs being show before the celebration, which kicks off from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Other treats include live music and guest speakers such as the prominent Los Angeles Civil Rights lawyer Connie Rice and "Today in L.A." NBC news anchor Chris Shauble. After the speakers share their MLK knowledge, everyone is invited to an old-fashioned birthday party reception where dessert, coffee, tea and punch will be served in memory of the legendary leader.
For more information, call (800) 204-3131 or visit www.forestlawn.com.
MARTIN LUTHER KING KINGDOM DAY PARADE
Monday, Jan. 17 @ 11 a.m.
Martin Luther King Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard
The streets of Los Angeles will be packed with millions of people praising the courageous endeavors of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so don't be the only one missing out on all the fun while history is revisited.
The parade covers a two-mile strip on Martin Luther King Boulevard starting at Crenshaw Boulevard and ending at Western. More than 150 floats will adorn the streets along with 20 drill teams and 10 dance groups. Surprise celebrity guests and the blasting tunes of a military marching band will also join the parade to keep the crowds hyped.
Adding even more spice to the carnival atmosphere will be local vendors and restaurants catering to revelers looking to score anything from MLK memorabilia to tasty downhome meals like the ones cooked in King's Southern hometown.
For more information, call the Council on Racial Equality at (323) 299-1234.
Monday, Jan. 17 @ Various times
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Various Locations throughout Los Angeles
This is your chance to dedicate some time to the community just like MLK did! The Corporation for National and Community Service has made it possible for the public to come together on Martin L. King, Jr.’s birthday and serve society in most every way imaginable. Use MLK Day to tutor a child, feed the homeless or simply help those in need. Organizations such as AmeriCorps, the American Red Cross and the United Way are ready to help you become a part of the MLK Day of Service.
For more information, visit www.mlkday.org.
Thursday, Jan. 20 @ Noon
24th Annual MLK Memorial Birthday Commemoration
Bovard Auditorium, University of Southern California
The perfect way to get information and entertainment on MLK Day is at this USC event. The program’s theme "Living the Legacy … and Beyond" will allow the audience to remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in addition to celebrating what would have been his 77th birthday. The event will also include music, keynote speakers and performances by groups like the USC Fly Girls.
But don’t leave early! The conclusion of the ceremony will honor King by placing flowers at the MLK Memorial in front of the USC Law School.
For more information, call (213) 740-5649 or visit www.usc.edu/bsfc.
Thursday, Jan. 13 @ Noon
6th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration
Beach Auditorium, California State University Long Beach
For more information, call (562) 985-5358
Thursday, Jan. 13 @ 7 p.m.
A Historic Dialogue with Members of the Little Rock Nine
Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
For more information, call (310) 772-7617
Monday, Jan. 17 @ 11 a.m.
6th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
West Covina Civic Center, 1444 Garvey Ave. South, West Covina
For more information, call (626) 966-9690
Monday, Jan. 17 @ 8 a.m.
16th Annual UNCF Inter-Alumni Council’s Martin Luther King Breakfast
The Proud Bird, 11022 Aviation Blvd., Los Angeles
For more information, call (213) 639-3800
Extend A Helping Hand:
Get involved with organizations that are keeping Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream alive!
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
The NAACP has more than 10 programs designed to improve economic, educational and social issues that affect minorities and disadvantaged youth. For example, the NAACP/NASA Saturday Scholars Academy is open to students with a passion for science and the Youth Entrepreneurial Institute is available for youth interested in business development. Find out how you can become involved with enriching low-income communities through projects like local job fairs and financial counseling.
For more information, call (323) 296-2630 or visit www.naacp.org.
United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
Because of this organization, more than 300,000 students have been able to afford a college education – UNCF alumni Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. having been one of those students. Raising more than $2 billion, UNCF has distributed more funds to help minorities attend college than any group outside of the government. By supporting the UNCF, you can help jumpstart a child’s career through scholarships and internships.
For more information, call (800) 331-2244 or visit www.uncf.or.
National Urban League
Protecting civil rights, educating children and helping adults attain economic self-sufficiency are only a few things you can participate in when volunteering your time or resources to the National Urban League. This organization has even started a technological initiative that provides low-income communities with computers and Internet access. Become involved with an association that has made things such as increasing homeownership, entrepreneurial opportunities and employment amongst minorities and low-income individuals some of their highest priorities.
For more information, call (212) 558-5300 or visit www.nul.org.
Center for the Advancement of Nonviolence
Seeking social change through non-violent acts is what Martin L. King, Jr. was all about and this organization’s mission is no different. The Center for the Advancement of Nonviolence encourages citizens to create a culture of peace by making nonviolent choices in their daily actions and when seeking institutional transformations. Join a volunteer team and help discover ways to break cycles of violence.
For more information, call (323) 931-9125 or visit www.nonviolenceworks.com.