Holidays

15 Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022 Events In Portland

Reclaim MLK Annual Rally for Human Rights and Dignity, Keep Alive the Dream, and More
January 12, 2022
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Celebrate MLK at the Hollywood Theatre with a screening of the local documentary Keep Alive The Dream.

The first major holiday of 2022 is upon us: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Mon Jan 17) marks the birthday of the Civil Rights leader. Many Portlanders will get a three-day weekend in observance, giving you time to honor Dr. King’s life and legacy. MLK Day is notably the sole federal holiday also observed as a national day of service, encapsulated by the motto “a day on, not a day off.” Read on for events where you can learn more about MLK, build community, or commemorate the occasion by volunteering.   

All events take place on Mon Jan 17 unless otherwise noted.

COMMUNITY & SOCIAL JUSTICE

The 12th Annual Yamhill County Dr. Martin Luther King Day Celebration Add to a List
Tune into the livestream of Yamhill County's annual MLK celebration to hear from keynote speaker and DEI advocate Tai Harden-Moore and MCs Zinabu Czarnecki and Bryce Coefield, plus a musical performance from "The First Lady of Portland Blues” LaRhonda Steele.
Virtual via Chehalem Cultural Center

Continuing the Legacy - 12th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast Add to a List
STEM+Arts education program iUrban Teen has assembled an impressive lineup of speakers and performers including Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young (who was a colleague and friend of MLK), poet Dr. S. Renee Mitchell, and singer-songwriter Tahirah Memory for this community breakfast, which will also be livestreamed.
Hilton Vancouver

Defining Abolition: A Virtual Racial Justice Teach-In Add to a List
Presented by the MLK Racial Justice Campus Collaborative, this event will carve out space for Black community activists to "envision a world liberated from white supremacy, colonialism, and racism." Folks who may be less familiar with the practice of abolition will learn about its roots in Black/African diasporic feminisms, and how it has defined anti-racist organizing on national and global levels. 
Virtual via Portland State University (Sat Jan 22)

Reclaim MLK Annual Rally for Human Rights and Dignity Add to a List
Social justice organization Don’t Shoot PDX is centering and celebrating Black youth in this inclusive protest that aims to reclaim Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the Black community.
Peninsula Park, Piedmont

Rev. Dr. Leroy Haynes, Jr. Virtual Keynote: "The Transforming Power of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement" Add to a List
PSU's MLK: Living the Legacy series will give community members the opportunity to hear from Rev. Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr. The Portland-based pastor and activist has "dedicated the majority of his life to the pursuit of racial justice and religious faith," and served as a youth organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a field organizer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and a co-organizer of the Black Panther Party.
Virtual via Portland State University (Tues Jan 18)

The Skanner Foundation 36th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Add to a List
Whip up your own breakfast and sit down to the Skanner Foundation's (an online regional newspaper associated with the West Coast Black Publishers Association) virtual celebration of Dr. King featuring inspiring words from the foundation's elected officials and previous student scholarship winners, local musical talent, and the honoring of a local civil rights leader who will be revealed at the event.
Virtual via The Skanner Foundation

FILM

17th Annual MLK Tribute: KING: A FILMED RECORD Add to a List
Join the Clinton Street Theater as they honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with their annual screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis (1971). You'll learn about the life and works of the influential figure through dramatic readings by Harry Belafonte, James Earl Jones, Paul Newman, and others, along with newsreel and archival footage.
Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy 

Keep Alive the Dream Add to a List
World Arts Foundation Inc., who has hosted an annual MLK tribute event since 1978, present this hour-long film of archival footage. The film documents four decades of arts and activism by Oregon's African-American communities, following MLK's doctrine. A Q&A with community members will follow the screening and the program will also include live music. Folks should note that while admission is free, you'll need to claim a ticket for entry.
Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District 

VOLUNTEERING

*note that these events require advance registration

King Clean-Up Day Add to a List
Volunteers will meet at event host Portland Covenant Church before heading over to their neighbors King Elementary School for a two-hour clean-up where lunch will be provided. 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, King (Sun Jan 16)

Metro Parks and Nature Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day Add to a List
This stewardship event hosted by Metro Parks and Nature will help beautify one of Portland's precious wetlands areas. You'll be planting and mulching, so be prepared to get physical—participants should feel comfortable bending, kneeling, and working with tools.
Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area, North Portland

MLK Day Clean Up w/Surfrider PDX Add to a List
Fittingly, volunteers will help clean up Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd during this day of service in his honor. This effort is being spearheaded by the Surfrider Foundation’s Portland chapter for a fourth year, with the goal of collecting trash before it reaches and pollutes our waterways.  
evo Portland, Central Eastside  

Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Add to a List
Portland Parks and Rec's Urban Forestry program and the Confluence Environmental Center's AmeriCorps program will guide volunteers on how to care for this dog-friendly park's young trees. You'll help give these upstarts some TLC to ensure they thrive for years to come. Gloves and other PPE will be provided. 
Sacajawea Park, Cully

SOLVE's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Add to a List
Mask up and help pick up litter in Portland's city center with environmental nonprofit SOLVE. Volunteers will fulfill their civic duty and connect with others in service, "moving closer to realizing King's vision of a 'beloved community.'" Registration is full, but you can sign up for the waitlist. 
Various locations, City Center

Volunteer Planting at Burnt Bridge Creek for MLK Day of Service Add to a List
Know that you'll have a direct impact in restoring native habitat and improving the water quality of Burnt Bridge Creek when you help to plant trees and shrubs with the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership.
Alki Road Park, Vancouver

OUTDOORS

National Park Free Days Add to a List
Get outside to your nearest national park during the NPS's fee-free days on national holidays like MLK Day.
Various locations

Washington State Parks Free Days Add to a List
If you don't have a Discover Pass but you still want to take in Northwest wildlife in all its evergreen-hued glory, take advantage of free admission to Washington State Parks on special days throughout the year. There are several parks to explore just over the state line, including Beacon Rock and Columbia Hills.
Various locations in Washington 

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