the monument to dr martin luther king, washington dc
The monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Washington D.C. Copyright: bwzenith / 123RF Stock Photo

Not just anyone gets their own national holiday, which just shows how significant Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was — and still is — to our nation. From Selma to “I have a dream,” his voice, principles and vision encourage us toward continued unity, respect and love for everyone in our community.

To celebrate MLK’s life and legacy, the Valley hosts a number of events, most of which are free. We’ve rounded up the major ones you might want to attend on and around MLK Day, which this year falls on Monday, Jan. 16.

Chandler

22nd Annual Multicultural Festival

During the month of January, Chandler hosts its Annual Celebration of Unity “to highlight the cultural diversity of our community through music, dance, art, storytelling and more.” The celebration includes a number of events, including the Chandler Multicultural Festival.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the festival will take place near MLK Day. The event will feature art, music and dance from a range of Valley artisans, performers and cultural groups, plus vendors and plenty of family fun.

Where: Chandler Fashion Center Mall, 3111 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler
When: Saturday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: Free
More info: www.chandleraz.gov

Sister Moses: The Story of Harriet Tubman

Learn about Harriet Tubman’s incredible life through Desert Dance Theatre’s stunning performance titled “Sister Moses: The Story of Harriet Tubman.” The first half of the program will pay homage to influential African Americans including Billie Holiday and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler
When: Sunday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m.
Cost: $25 adults, $20 seniors, $15 students
More info: chandlercenter.org

Mesa

MLK Breakfast

Enjoy a yummy breakfast and hear a talk from “speaker, educator and community builder” Calvin Terrell.

Donations of peanut butter and jelly in plastic jars accepted for United Food Bank.

Where: Mesa Convention Center, 263 N Center Street, Mesa
When: Monday, Jan. 16, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Cost: $50 (single ticket), $400 (table for 8)
More info: www.mesamlk.org/gala

MLK Parade

Watch 30+ floats and groups ranging from buffalo soldier reenactors and motorcycle groups to churches and bands promote MLK’s vision of “unity and peace.”

Donations of peanut butter and jelly in plastic jars accepted for United Food Bank.

Where: Downtown Mesa. Starts W. University/MLK Way and Central, travels south to 1st St and then west to Robson
When: Monday, Jan. 16, 11 a.m.-noon
Cost: Free
More info: www.mesamlk.org/parade

MLK Festival and Interfaith Candlelight Vigil

Enjoy vendors, food and information at this free festival. It also includes an Interfaith Candlelight Vigil with talks from area religious and civil right leaders.

A Creative Arts Award ceremony will take place later in the day to recognize the art, multi-media and speech submission from local children.

Donations of peanut butter and jelly in plastic jars accepted for United Food Bank.

Where: Mesa Arts Center, One E. Main St., Mesa
When: Monday, Jan. 16, Noon (Vigil at 1 p.m.)
Cost: Free
More info: www.mesamlk.org

Peoria

Black Violin

Black Violin — musicians Wil Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester — take the stage in Peoria to pay tribute to MLk with a free concert. Bring blankets and chairs for sitting.

Where: Centennial Plaza, W Cinnabar Ave, Peoria (South of City Hall)
When: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6 p.m.
Cost: Free
More info: www.peoriaaz.gov

Phoenix

MLK March & Festival

Begin the day with a symbolic two-mile march that recalls King’s 1968 march. Then enjoy a festival with plenty of vendors, entertainment, food and a health fair.

Where:
March: Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, S. 15th Street & E Jefferson St., Phoenix
Festival: Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 W Culver St, Phoenix
When: 
March: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Festival: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
More info: arizonamlk.wixsite.com/azmlkorg

Click here for more Phoenix MLK activities.

Tempe

19th Annual MLK Diversity Awards Breakfast

Tempe hosts an annual MLK Diversity Awards Breakfast that “honors local individuals, businesses, and community groups that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in Tempe.” You can enjoy breakfast, entertainment and a keynote speech.

Where: Tempe Marriott at the Buttes, 2000 Westcourt Way, Tempe
When: Monday, Jan. 16, 8 a.m.
Cost: $10, RSVP required
More info: www.tempe.gov

ASU Celebrations

Arizona State University holds its own annual celebrations in Tempe, which are now in their 34th year.

Join the March on West, which runs from the Paley Gates to the Sans/Kiva Courtyard. It mimics the historic 1963 march on Washington, D.C. and culminates with a reenactment of Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech courtesy of ASU faculty member Charles St. Clair.

Where: ASU Tempe Campus,
When: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 11 a.m.
Cost: Free entry, parking $3
More info: www.asu.edu/mlk

Attend the free MLK Student Rally and Student Organization Fair at ASU’s North Stage Memorial Union and Hayden Lawn. It focuses on understanding the principles of servant leadership.

Where: ASU Tempe Campus,
When: Thursday, Jan. 19
Cost: Free entry
More info: www.asu.edu/mlk

– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org

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