“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on January 20th is reserved as a national day of service to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of this courageous civil rights leader.
United Way encourages you to make this a “day on” and participate in one or more of the service opportunities and celebrations taking place around the city.
Are you and your family looking for local ways to volunteer and serve your community? United Way of Greater Cincinnati can help. Visit CincyHelps to find various volunteer opportunities with our agency partners – like Bethany House, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Santa Maria, Girl Scouts, CincySmiles and many more.
For additional opportunities to honor the legacy of Reverend King, see below for a list of community celebrations happening in our beloved Queen City. Most if not all are free, open to the public and perfect for the entire family.
47th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Ceremony
January 17, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium, UC Medical Sciences Building
This free event is an opportunity to reflect on the legacy and leadership of Dr. King and honor those who are actively answering his call to action in our community. The celebration will include the presentation of the UC Health/UC College of Medicine Humanitarian Award. This year’s award recipients are:
- Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, President, Sesh Communications
- Courtis Fuller, Anchor & Reporter, WLWT-TV
- Lincoln Ware, Host, “The Lincoln Ware Show”
- Special recognition will be presented to the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Black Journalists Association.
The keynote address will be presented by the award-winning broadcast journalist, Dorothy Tucker, President of the National Black Journalists Association.
To register, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pursuing His Dream: MLK Day
January 20, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cincinnati Museum Center
The Cincinnati Museum Center will be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a day-long celebration titled “Pursuing His Dream”. It will be a day filled with musical performances, vendors, and lectures honoring the teachings of one of America’s most prominent activists and civil rights leaders. This one is for the entire family!
Cincinnati MLK Coalition 45th Annual Commemorative March
January 20, 10:30 a.m.
Meet outside the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Hundreds of people will gather outside of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to begin participation in Cincinnati’s MLK commemorative march. The march will wind through Cincinnati and reach Fountain Square by 11 a.m. for an Interfaith Prayer Service. At 12 p.m. everyone will head to Music Hall for the free MLK Commemorative Celebration.
The celebration’s keynote speaker is Dr. Tammy Kernodle, professor of Musicology at Miami University in Oxford, OH. Explore the songs that have carried the spirit of freedom movements of the past into the present day. Additional performances will be presented by the award-winning MLK Chorale and Cincinnati’s Nouveau Chamber Players.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center MLK Day Activities
January 20, Various times
- The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is open to the public from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. with FREE general admission to the museum’s permanent exhibitions and programming.Visitors may immerse themselves in“The Rosa Parks Experience” or the “Motel X”exhibition for an additional $5.
- Hoxworth Blood Center’s Annual MLK Day Blood Drivewill be located on the third floor of the museum from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment, please call 513-451-0910 or visit hoxworth.org/groups/mlk. Walk-ins are welcome!
- The Mercy Health Mobile Mammography Bus will be in front of the museum from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Sigma Omega and Phi Psi Omega Chapters. To schedule an appointment, please call 513-686-3300 and press 1. Walk-ins are welcome. Participating insurances are billed.
- Reading Corner and Book Give-Away sponsored by E.W. Scripps Company, The Scripps Howard Foundation and WCPO-TV
- Screenings of the HBO original documentary True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the Harriet Tubman Theater.
National Day of Racial Healing Event
(This event has reached capacity)
January 21, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
United Way of Greater Cincinnati is hosting the first Cincinnati-based National Day of Racial Healing event. Organizations across the nation have come together for the past three years to create opportunities for truth telling and trust building that lead to racial healing. This is the only community-wide registered event in the state.
Solving our community’s most challenging issues will require all voices and experiences to be heard and valued. United Way is committed to including diversity, equity and inclusion at the center of our work, so we are hosting a National Day of Racial Healing event. This event will include a keynote by Josh Poe, Co-Principal Investigator at Root Cause Research Center, who will present the correlation between the history of structural discrimination and disproportionate rates of poverty and financial instability impacting African American communities today. Other activities include a discussion with Dr. Brandi Blessett,Director,Master of Public Administration,University of Cincinnati, dinner and Q&A with a panel of local experts.
This event is designed to accommodate various schedules so attendees can arrive and leave as needed. Childcare will be provided.