Arlington County’s annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is moving online this year, forgoing all in-person experiences due to COVID-19.
This 52-year tradition was first organized in 1969, about ten months after King’s assassination, by local community members and county staff.
This year’s edition honoring the civil rights leader life and legacy will be held on Sunday, January 17 at 5 p.m. It will include a collection of online performances, music, spoken word, and dialogue that participants will be able to select from.
The tribute is being produced in partnership with Encore Stage & Studio.
All videos and content will go live at 5 p.m on the event’s website, but will continue to be available on the site into the coming months.
In addition, Volunteer Arlington’s annual MLK Day of Service will also be online this year. On Monday, January 18, starting at 9:30 a.m., residents can participate in 12 different service opportunities, engage in volunteer trainings, or learn more about their community.
There will also be collection sites for the Arlington Food Assistance Center outside of eleven community and fitness centers.
The current schedule of programming for Arlington’s MLK Day tribute is below:
At 5 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 17, visit the MLK Tribute webpage for a dynamic experience that allows the user to select the content they wish to view. The content will remain online for the coming months.
Specific program elements will include content sections with videos from past MLK Tributes and never-before-seen works:
A video compilation highlighting clips of music, dance, spoken word and dialogue from recent MLK Tributes, including:
- Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir’s renditions of The Best Is Yet to Come and Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
- Original work by spoken word artist Kim B. Miller, Your Calling
- Motherless Child and I’ll Rise Up, performed by the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Dance Ensemble
- Scene from the 51st MLK Tribute, performed by actor Deshawn Harris (as MLK) and Yancy Langston (voice of Benjamin Mays)
- Arlington native Joy Gardner solo rendition of A Change is Gonna Come
- Remarks from Arlington resident Joan Mulholland, activist and educator
- Lift Every Voice and Sing, produced by Balm in Gilead, Inc.
Specific Music Options
- I’ve Been Buked and Scorned, soloist James Gibson
- I Know I’ve Been Changed, soloist Karen D. Archer
- You’re All I Need To Get By, duet with Duke Ellington School of the Arts students Kianna Kelly-Futch and Kyree Allen
- Is My Living in Vain performed by local quartet The Four
- The Wall Between Us, performed by Kimberly D. Gordon and written by Anne Smith
- Arlington native Joy Gardner solo rendition of A Change is Gonna Come
Specific Dance Options
- Chains, performed by Worship Without Words
- Precious Lord Take My Hand and Glory, performed by the Inspire Arts Collective
- If I Could, performed by Kailah Doles
- Motherless Child and I’ll Rise Up, performed by the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Dance Ensemble
Specific Spoken Word Options
- New original work from spoken word artist Kim B. Miller
- Reflections from Encore Stage & Studio students
- Original work by spoken word artist Kim B. Miller, Break the Chains
- Original work, Stand, by Outspoken Poetress Audrey Perkins
Other options include historical footage and a presentation by Samia Byrd, Chief Race and Equity Officer for Arlington County.
About the Program
Arlington’s first tribute to Dr. King was in 1969, the year after his assassination. The goal of this program is to bring people together (virtually or in-person) to support the community’s vision of social justice and community. This year’s program is produced in partnership with Encore Stage & Studio.
Virtual Day of Service
Volunteer Arlington’s annual MLK Day of Service program has also pivoted to be online. On Mon., Jan. 18, from 9:30 a.m.-noon. Online volunteer opportunities include service projects, advocacy panels and volunteer trainings. Learn more and register by Thurs., Jan. 14. by visiting https://volunteer.leadercenter.org/mlk-day-service.
Food Donation Collection
Food donations to benefit Arlington Food Assistance Center clients will be collected outside at the centers below from Jan. 15-18.
- Arlington Mill
- Aurora Hills
- Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center
- Lubber Run
- Thomas Jefferson
- Walter Reed
Learn more about the 2021 MLK Tribute event at https://parks.arlingtonva.us/mlk-tribute/
Photo via Adam Fagen/Flickr
The ceremony “Prayers of a King” is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 19, at Wakefield High School (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street). Doors are scheduled to open at 4:30 p.m. with the program running from 5-6:30 p.m. The ceremony will feature music, dance and spoken word performances that tell the story of desegregation in Arlington, the county said.
According to a press release:
At 8:45 a.m. on February 2, 1959, four young students from the Arlington’s Halls Hill neighborhood entered Stratford Junior High School and became the first students to desegregate a public school in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The 2020 MLK Tribute program focuses on their journey; when they learn they will be the first African Americans to integrate a school in Virginia and into their first day of school, while simultaneously following Dr. King’s fight for equality during the same time period.
Admission to the event is free, though guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable goods to donate to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Seating is given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Photo via Wakefield High School
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Photo courtesy Tom Mockler
Arlington will celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a free annual event featuring local performers this Sunday (Jan 20).
“Supernatural” actor Christian Keyes is set to host Arlington’s MLK Tribute, which is now in its 50th year. The event will run from 5-6:30 p.m. at Wakefield High School.
Community members and county staff created the annual tribute one year after King’s assassination in 1968 as a way to bring the community together around King’s vision for social equality.
“Arlington’s beloved MLK tribute event is a joyful celebration of Dr. King and his powerful advocacy for social and economic justice, non-violence and empowerment that continues to serve as a beacon for our nation more than a half-century after his assassination,” Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said in a press release.
The program features music, dance and spoken word roles.
The lineup includes:
- Spoken word artist Outspoken Poetress (Audrey Perkins)
- Inspire Arts Collective
- Soloist Jackie Pate
- Soloist James Gibson
- Arlington resident Joy Gardner
- The Hoffman-Boston All Star Chorus led by Molly Haines
- Teen Network boardmembers
- Winners of the Arlington Public Schools’ MLK Literary and Visual Arts Contest
Guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis, and overflow space with a live stream of the program will be available if the auditorium reaches capacity. Anyone attending is encouraged to bring non-perishable goods to donate to Arlington Food Assistance Center.
Photo via Arlington County
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Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed next Monday, Jan. 15, the county said. Though metered parking will not be enforced on those days, recycling and trash pickup is scheduled to go ahead per normal. The call center will also be closed.
ART buses will operate on a Saturday schedule on routes 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87. Park grounds will remain open, although administrative offices, classes and centers will be closed.
Arlington will hold its annual tribute to Dr. King, titled “Martin Luther King, Jr: The Man and the Mission,” on Sunday at Wakefield High School from 5-6:30 p.m. The program features musical and dance performances from Duke Ellington School of Arts, spoken word artist Kim Miller and students from local schools.
On Monday, Volunteer Arlington is organizing a community-wide day of service at the Arlington Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive). Interested participants can register to take part in community service activities from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
The inaugural event encourages people from all walks of life to work together to find solutions to pressing problems of the day.
Most Arlington County facilities and services are slated to close or operate on altered schedules next week in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony.
Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed next Monday, Jan. 16 and Friday, Jan. 20, the county said. Though metered parking will not be enforced on those days, recycling and trash pickup is scheduled to go ahead per normal.
Additionally, Commonwealth of Virginia offices, which include courts and the DMV, will be closed tomorrow, Jan. 13, for Lee Jackson Day. Metered parking will not be enforced that day, but Arlington County offices will be open.
It’s January, and that means this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute is less than two weeks away.
The 48th annual tribute event and concert is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 15, from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Wakefield High School Auditorium at 1325 S. Dinwiddie Street.
As is the tradition, the tribute concert is free and features live music, dance and spoken word performances.
This year’s lineup of artists and musicians includes gospel singer Helen Slade, the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts Show Choir, Alexandria’s Kingdom Fellow Church’s Worship Without Words Mime Ministry, poet Kim B. Miller and several other local performers.
The program will also “acknowledge the current social and political climate while motivating and uplifting attendees with words of inspiration and praise,” organizers said.
Those interested in attending must reserve free tickets in advance of the performance.
Photo via Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation
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