Downtown Concierge

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations Downtown


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Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking. (Photo by Julian Wasser//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

The country celebrates the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, January 15. So, mark your calendars for these special events being held in Columbus. The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission holds their 2018 Commemorative Celebration on Thursday, January 11 ahead of the federal observation. So, don't miss it.

The Commission advocates for Dr. King's principles of nonviolence. And, this event honors Ohio citizens who exhibit these principles while working to eliminate discrimination and promote diversity. The celebration begins at noon at Trinity Episcopal Church and runs roughly 75 minutes--a lunchtime experience well worth your time. Indeed, the event is free and open to the public. This year's theme "MLK50: Legacy of Love in Pursuit of Justice" acknowledges the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination and the legacy of this life's work since.

Each year, the Commission holds a statewide oratorical contest for students. And, the 2017 winners share their winning essays during this year's Celebration. In addition, the Commission will award five distinguished Ohioans and two Ohio organizations recognition for carrying on the legacy of Dr. King. You can also enjoy a performance from the Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School choir.

City of Columbus Celebration and March

The City of Columbus honors the holiday with a march and special program on Monday, January 15. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. at East High School 15 1500 East Broad Street. Then, at 4:45 p.m., the March steps off down Taylor Avenue before heading east on Long Street, south on Woodland Avenue and west on East Broad Street. A special program featuring Keynote Speaker Jane Elliot follows at 5:30 p.m. at East High School. Elliot, a diversity pioneer, created the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment. If you are heading from downtown from work and don't have time to grab your car, consider using available public transportation.

Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Oratorical Contest

The 2018 Statewide Oratorical Contest will produce winners who will present at next year's Celebration. Students in four divisions (K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 912) present to their regional coordinators, with the first, second and third place winners moving on to the statewide contest to be held on April 27 at the King Arts Complex. Students respond to this year's theme "MLK50: Legacy of Love in Pursuit of Justice." For more details and a listing of regional coordinators, click here.