The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged us to always consider what we can do for others to help make the world a fair and compassionate place. Each year, the MLK Day of Service is our opportunity to heed his challenge and give back.
This year, there are many ways to get involved in Philly, whether you’re looking to take part in socially distant volunteering, a clean-up event, or attend an online event with your family.
Here are ways to honor King’s legacy this year in Philadelphia.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary is hosting both in-person and virtual programming this MLK Day. Students, activists, and the public will read and reflect on King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Both virtual and in-person attendees can enjoy music and art inspired by the legacy of Dr. King. Want to get involved? Apply to be a community leader by Friday, Jan. 7. (Free, Jan. 17, 1:30-3:30 p.m., virtual and in-person, 2027 Fairmount Ave., easternstate.org)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the National Constitution Center
Admission to the National Constitution Center is free on MLK Day. At the museum, you can join in a variety of activities from story corners to a reading of King’s I Have a Dream speech. The museum also hosts a school supply drive, where newly purchased supplies can be dropped off at the museum during the month of January to be donated to the School District of Philadelphia. (Free, Jan. 17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 525 Arch St., constitutioncenter.org)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend at the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution honors the legacy of King all weekend long. The Philadelphia Jazz Project brings King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail to life through song and spoken word on Saturday and the museum also hosts daily performances of Meet James Forten, a performance that explores the life of the free Black Philadelphian. In the museum’s rotunda, visit the community engagement wall where you can learn more about creating change in your community. You can log on online to take a deep dive into King’s many speeches and how they connect to the promises of the Revolutionary War. (Free-$51, Jan. 15-17, 101 S. Third St., amrevmuseum.org)
MLK Weekend at the National Liberty Museum
This year, the National Liberty Museum calls us to consider sustainability as an act of service. All weekend long, visit to learn more about how King’s activism laid the ground work for today’s many social justice movements. On Sunday, join Joel Spivak for a workshop on creating sustainable art. On Monday, farmer Shawn Brody leads a workshop on sustainable living in Philadelphia. (Free-$12, Jan. 16-17, 321 Chestnut St., libertymuseum.org)
Uhuru’s 25th Annual MLK Day
This community-centered volunteer project is back for its 25th year. Tune in online or attend in-person for a program featuring speakers, music, and more. Then, put on something warm and head out for a socially distanced outdoor volunteer project. Lunch will be provided for volunteers. (Free, Jan. 17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 832 N. Broad St., eventbrite.com)
27th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service
If you want to honor King’s legacy through community service, the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service has hundreds of ways to get involved in-person and virtually. Learn about how to become a poll worker and help to preserve voting rights or participate in a clean-up at a park or recreation center near you. (Jan. 17, volunteer.globalcitizen365.org)
Some of the volunteer opportunities through MLK Day of Service this year: