PHILADELPHIA'S massive Martin Luther King Jr. Day tribute to the heroic civil-rights leader's fight for racial equality will feature 135,000 volunteers working in 1,800 community projects today and a MLK-spirited "Black Lives Matter" protest march that organizers hope will draw 10,000 demonstrators.
A diverse coalition of religious leaders, unions, students, parents and grass-roots community groups will gather at Philadelphia School District headquarters on Broad Street near Callowhill at 1:30 p.m. and move out for the 2 p.m. MLK Day of Action, Resistance and Empowerment (D.A.R.E.) march to City Hall, then to Independence Mall at 6th and Market streets for a 3:30 p.m. rally.
Other MLK Day of Service events include:
* Eastern State Penitentiary (Fairmont Avenue near 22nd Street) presents professional actors reading King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., followed by a discussion of the letter's powerful relevance today, led by a civil-rights scholar.
In another part of the jail, children (ages 7 to 12) can create art in response to the letter's themes. Free admission.
* At the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 21st Street, 100 PECO employees and their families will work from 8:30 a.m. to noon, creating two big murals with artist Willis Humphrey, and painting the hallways, basketball gym and locker rooms.
* The Center for Returning Citizens, which assists men and women returning from prison and their families, is joining members of the Second Baptist Church of Germantown, a Unitarian Church congregation, the Philadelphia Friends Quarterly Meeting, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church and Mishkan Shalom in Roxborough for a 9:30-to-11:30 a.m. street-cleaning project on Germantown Avenue, Erie Avenue and 15th Street before joining the MLK D.A.R.E. march.
* The National Museum of American Jewish History (5th and Market streets) presents a free-admission MLK Day program featuring an 11 a.m. performance by the Sister Cities Girl Choir, 11 a.m.-to-3 p.m. docent-led conversations on civil-rights history in America, a Fleisher Art Memorial "I Have a Dream" art project (ages 6 and up), and a 2-to-3:30 p.m. civil-rights discussion by the MLK Legacy Youth Panel.
* Pennsylvania Recovery Organization - Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT) and the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania invite adults and their children to join 150 volunteers at the Philadelphia Recovery Community Center on Lehigh Avenue near 17th St. for a 9 a.m.-to-1 p.m. neighborhood cleanup.
* Villanova students will spend the holiday weatherizing, brightening and cleaning Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music on Allegheny Avenue near 17th Street in North Philly from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
* The Urban League of Philadelphia is holding its fourth annual Jobs and Opportunity Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the Hum Building at Girard College, on College Avenue near Corinthian Avenue. Participating employers include Target, CVS, Comcast, Citizens Bank, PGW, Temple University and Temple Health System, Securitas, Home Depot and Infinite Care. Preregistration required.