Orlando, FL is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a series of events that honor the civil rights leader’s legacy and promote unity in the community. The events, which are organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, take place from January 8-20, 2023.
The celebration begins on Sunday, January 8 at 6 p.m. with a MLK Candlelight Vigil and March at the Rotunda at City Hall on 400 South Orange Avenue. The commission will host a candlelight vigil, a brief presentation and a march to the Shiloh Baptist Church of Orlando for the Interfaith Multicultural Celebration. At 6:30 p.m., the Interfaith Multicultural Celebration will take place at the Shiloh Baptist Church of Orlando, 604 West Jackson Street. The celebration will feature guest speaker Bishop Derrick L. McRae, Senior Pastor of The Experience Christian Center, and the theme for the celebration is “The Daybreak of Freedom.”
On Monday, January 9 at 2 p.m., the Orlando City Council will hold a presentation on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the City Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 400 South Orange Avenue. Mayor Dyer and the city commissioners will proclaim January 8-16, 2023, as “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Week” in the City of Orlando.
On Thursday, January 12 at 7 p.m., the 19th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Forum will take place at FAMU College of Law, 201 FAMU Law Lane. The Orlando Alumni Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity will host a forum where participants will discuss this year’s theme of “Seize The Moment. Take The Opportunity. Dare To Affect Change.”
On Friday, January 13 at 11:30 a.m., the 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Luncheon will take place at the First Baptist Orlando, 3000 South John Young Parkway. The keynote speaker for the event is Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the new interim General Secretary/President of the National Council of Churches. The luncheon will also recognize the Drum Major Award and other community achievements.
On Saturday, January 14 at 10 a.m., the 39th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Downtown Orlando Parade on Orange Avenue will take place. The parade theme is “It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Break the Cycle of Injustice.”
On Monday, January 16, at 7:45 a.m., the Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy 32nd Annual Prayer Breakfast will take place at First Baptist Orlando, 3000 South John Young Parkway. The guest speaker for the event is Barbara Jenkins, and the breakfast commemorates civil rights pioneers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, Orlando’s first African American City Council Member.
Also on January 16 at 9 a.m., the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission’s Great Day of Service will take place at Lake Lorna Doone Park, 1519 West Church Street. There will also be a Seedlings for Civil Rights event at Gilbert McQueen Park, 650 West Lake Mann Drive, where attendees can help beautify homes in the community by planting trees, mulching and removing litter from surrounding areas.
On Friday, January 20, at 7 p.m., the MLK Night at the Orlando Magic game at Amway Center, 400 West Church Street will take place, recognizing MLK Youth Humanitarian Award winners at the Orlando Magic vs. New Orleans Pelicans game.
On Saturday, February 18th at 7 p.m., the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will host the 8th annual MLK Gospel Concert in Steinmetz Hall, located at 445 South Magnolia Avenue. The concert, produced and directed by Jeffrey Redding, is open to the public with no admission fee, however, guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.