April 4 marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
But, before that, the third Monday of January is dedicated to honoring the memory and contributions of the civil rights and religious leader. This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on his birthday, Jan. 15.
It’s not just a day off. Local businesses, organizations and universities are hosting free public events on and following the federal holiday. Here’s what’s happening:
Martin Luther King, Jr. March and Rally: Honor Dr. King to the theme of “Civil Rights and Social Justice: The Struggle Continues,” featuring speakers, 11:30 to 12:30 p.m., a march, 12:45 to 2:30 p.m., and food, music and celebration, 2:30 to 4:30 Monday, Jan. 15, McKay High School, 2440 Lancaster Drive NE, Salem.
Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service: Kaiser Permanente physicians, dentists and staff are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by providing medical, dental and mental health services for uninsured patients, 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Jan. 16, Salem Free Clinic, 1300 Broadway Ave. NE, No. 104, Salem.
The Reality of Hunger: Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision that everyone should have three meals a day with guest speakers including a lecture by Emmy-award-winning Ron Jones, refreshments and discussions about hunger, food insecurities at Chemeketa and resources, 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, Student Center, Building 2, Chemeketa Community College, 4000 Lancaster Drive NE, Salem. Free.
Previous coverage: Hundreds join MLK Day march across Marion Street bridge
“I Am Not Your Negro” documentary film and discussion: This film tells the story of race in America by using James Baldwin’s unfinished book “Remember This House,” which was going to focus on Baldwin’s friendships with Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., before he died in 1987, with only 30 pages completed, 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, Ford Hall Room 122, Willamette University, 900 State St., Salem.
Pacific Northwest Race, Rhetoric and Media Undergraduate Research Symposium: A public panel will discuss “Race, Ideology, and Resistance,” 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 19, followed by a panel on “Mass Mediated Representations of Race,” 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Ford Hall Room 102; on Saturday, Jan. 20, catch “Race, Space, and Rhetorics of the Body,” 9 to 10:30 a.m., and “Past Lessons, Present Challenges,” 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Hatfield Room, Willamette University, 900 State St., Salem.
“Why America May Go to Hell” — The Prophetic Pessimism of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A lecture by Andre E. Johnson focuses on King’s religious rhetoric, radical nature and what Johnson calls his “prophetic pessimism,” 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, Rehearsal Hall, Willamette University, 900 State St., Salem.
Open Mic — Expressions of Justice: People will use spoken word, music, art and other forms of expression as they reflect on their experiences, 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, Putnam University Center, Bistro Room, Willamette University, 900 State St., Salem.
The Voice of Justice: Learn about past and current youth who fight for justice presented by students of the Willamette Academy, 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, IKE Box, 299 Cottage St. NE, Salem.
Western Oregon University
Day of Service: Spend the observed holiday by making care packages for the Western Oregon University community, 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 15, Historic Gentle House, 855 Monmouth Ave. N, Monmouth. To volunteer, you must submit a volunteer form.
Poverty Simulation: Learn about the impact of poverty, 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, Pacific Room, Werner University Center on the Western Oregon University campus, Monmouth Ave N, Monmouth. Free.
MLK Jr. Celebration Dinner: Keynote speaker Walidah Imarisha is a public scholar and activist who will share her knowledge of marginalized communities and the systems that oppress them, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, Werner University Center on the Western Oregon University campus, Monmouth Ave N., Monmouth. $5 or $3 for students. Ticket includes dinner and can be purchased at the door, Werner University Center front desk and Disability Service Office at the APSC.
“Media’s Representation of Marginalized Communities”: The last event of Western Oregon’s MLK Commemoration Week is a student-led forum that discusses media representations by WOU’s Black Student Union, 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, Willamette Room in the Werner University Center on the Western Oregon University campus, Monmouth Ave N, Monmouth.
Reach out to Abby Luschei at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-399-6747 regarding all things entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @abbyluschei or like her Facebook page www.facebook.com/luscheiabby.