MLK: Come together for service and celebration

No matter what’s going on in your lives this Monday, there are lots of ways to contribute to your community and/or celebrate a legacy of togetherness.

Maybe you have Monday off, and maybe you don’t. Maybe your kids do, and maybe they don’t. But surely, no matter what’s going on in your lives, you can find some way to contribute to a community, the planet, or even just an individual.

Your life and the way you live it is made possible by the incredible efforts of a lot of people–both living and dead. Think about that for a minute. Then sign up for one of the tons of things to do that show your appreciation and your gratitude.

 Service Opportunities

1. Drop In: MLK Day Book Drive

It’s rare to find a service opportunity that is as convenient as this one–stop by the Children’s Museum of Richmond. All you do is stop by between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM, bring two child-appropriate books, decorate a couple of bookmarks, and leave. Designed for someone who has a hard time carving out time on Monday but who still wants to help. Register now.

2. New 2 U Sports Equipment Drive

The Richmond Entrepreneur’s Assistance Program offers job training for people with disabilities, AND they organize this equipment drive. Volunteers will spend their time taking inventory, cleaning, setting up, and admiring gently used and new sports equipment that those same volunteers donate. Register now.

3. Decoration Making for Sweethearts for the Arts

Sweethearts for the Arts, a fundraiser that proves that giving back doesn’t have to be So Serious, benefits Art on Wheels. But in order to make a fundraiser happen, they need to make the space look the part. For the crafty, this event is a no-brainer way to help a good cause. Register now.


1. Freedom Classic Festival

 VSU and VUU, both historically black colleges, have their annual face-off, but many other things (like music and food and stuff for kids) are available to help you pay tribute in a celebratory way. Note: This begins today and runs through Sunday.

  • Friday, January 16th – Sunday, January 18th • see site for schedule
  • See site for venues!
  • $30 – $35

2. Living the Dream: Citywide Mass Meeting

Everyone and anyone are invited to assemble at Cedar Street Baptist Church and listen to a rousing oration from Rev. Peter Wherry, pastor of the Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church in Charlotte. 

  • Monday, January 19th • 10:00 – 11:00 AM
  • Cedar Street Baptist Church, 2301 Cedar Street
  • Free!

3. MLK Commemoration Ceremony at University of Richmond

President Ed Ayers, noted historian and all-around engaging speaker, leads the keynote address at this annual UR tradition. Presentations by faculty, staff, and students round out the production.

  • Monday, January 19th • 5:30 – 7:00 PM
  • Camp Concert Hall, University of Richmond, 28 Westhampton Way
  • Free!

4. Historic Jackson Ward Photography Unveiling at Maggie Walker NHS

The Maggie Walker National Historic Society welcomes author Kitty Snow, as she presents the historic photographs of the people who lived and worked in historic Jackson Ward, taken by her great-grandfather, a streetcar driver named Harris Stilson. 

  • Monday, January 19th • Tours all day, presentation at 2:00 PM
  • Maggie L. Walker NHS, 600 N. 2nd Street
  • Free!

5. See “Selma” and Discuss with Fellow Richmonders

The HandsOn Greater Richmond staff loved the new film Selma so much that they organized this discussion with experts from the Moton Museum in Farmville. Find showtimes for this weekend, then get ready to discuss!

  • Monday, January 19th • 3:30 PM
  • Science Museum of Virginia Thalhimer Theater, 2500 W. Broad Street
  • Free! But RSVP on the Facebook event and show up early to take advantage of limited space!

6. MLK Community Dinner

On Sunday, the week of MLK-related activities and service projects at VCU come to a close, with keynote speaker Christy Coleman, co-CEO of The American Civil War Center. For an hour beforehand, you’ll pack up the articles that have been donated throughout the week, to combine service AND celebration!

7. The Generational Dream

The city’s official MLK celebration–“The Generational Dream: Uniting the Generations of the Young and Old”–takes place on Monday, featuring
Richmond City Council Vice President Chris Hilbert of the 3rd Voter District, Jeff Bourne of the Richmond Public School Board 3rd District, Debra Gardner, City’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Human Services, and Paul Manning, City’s Chief Service Officer.

  • Monday, January 19th • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Imperial Plaza, 1717 Bellevue Avenue
  • Free!

Photo by: ehpien

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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