We can make MLK Day 'A Day On,' rather than 'A Day Off.'

We can make MLK Day 'A Day On,' rather than 'A Day Off.'

We can make MLK Day 'A Day On,' rather than 'A Day Off.'

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In Louisville, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is an official day of service

When President Bill Clinton in 1994 signed the King Holiday and Service Act, he and others urged people to make the holiday celebrating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “A day On, not a day Off.”

In other words, people should use that day – and even the weekend before it – as a time of service, not just another vacation day.

So what are some things to do?

Service and thoughtfulness

We have a list of events, but first, here are some ideas about other things to do in providing service to others.

Martin Luther King Day is the only federal holiday that also is an official national day of service (Sept. 11, the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, is another day of service, but it’s not a federal holiday).

National leaders, and those who follow most closely in the Civil Rights footsteps of the slain Dr. King, encourage people to make Monday a time to serve others, to learn about his legacy, and reflect on how to make the world a better place.

In Cincinnati, the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition sees MLK Day events themselves as a day on. After all, it’s when the organization’s year of planning for Cincinnati's commemorative events comes to fruition, Martha Viehmann of the coalition told us last year.

Some MLK Day events

Here are some of Greater Cincinnati’s MLK Day events. These were compiled by the Voice of Black Cincinnati: 

2024 MLK Jr. Day March and Program

10:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. 
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Downtown)
Free Entry
The annual MLK Jr. Day Freedom March. The march begins at the Freedom Center and concludes in Washington Park. The celebration continues in Music Hall with music and three outstanding community leaders, Bishop Ennis F. Tait, Rickell Howard Smith, and Retired Judge Fanon A. Rucker, where each will address one of our three theme words: Love, Power, and Justice.

MLK Day Community Clean-Up 

10 a.m.- Noon
Great Parks Nature Center (Roselawn)
Free Entry 
Meet at Great Park’s Nature Center at the Summit for our 2nd annual Martin Luther King Community Cleanup around Roselawn! After the cleanup, volunteers will meet back at The Summit Center for open house-style programming and light refreshments to celebrate your hard work and the community! Do some service for MLK Day.

Fifth-Third Community Day

11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Downtown)
Free Entry
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center offers plenty of free MLK Day programming this year. Guests will receive free admission and plenty of activities. Families can choose from story times, musical performances, self-guided tours, art activities, and more. Make sure to stop by the annual MLK blood drive as well.

Annual MLK Day Blood Drive

11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Downtown)
Free Entry
Please participate in service for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and donate blood. This year’s blood drive is at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Make sure to sign up for an appointment to donate. All donors receive a free winter fleece. Donations will be accepted all of January for Blood Donor Awareness Month.

MLK Day Family Swim

Noon – 2 p.m. 
Goldfish Swim School (Kenwood)
Free Entry
Enjoy a family swim in a 90-degree heated pool! Admission to the pool is free, and playmats and toys in the water will be available for use. Life jackets will also be available, and swim diapers will be available for purchase. Spend MLK Day splashing around and having fun with the entire family.

Annual MLK Day Celebration

1 p.m.
Resurrection Lutheran Church (Lebanon)
Free Entry
Join Resurrection Lutheran Church once again for their annual MLK Day Celebration. The theme is “Genuine Brotherhood, Precious Peace”. This program will feature a performance from Jay Mills, the Bethany Choir, and other musical guests. This event is designed to educate the community about Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy and to inspire unity within our community.

Keep the Dream Alive – 22nd Annual MLK Ceremony

3 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. 
St. Savior Church (Deer Park) 
Free Entry
Enjoy a keynote speech by Bishop Ennis Tait, senior pastor and founder of New Beginnings Church of the Living God in Avondale. Meet the eight new honorees for the Keep the Dream Alive Award. Courtis Fuller, news anchor and reporter at WLWT, will be the emcee. This year’s theme is “Creating the Beloved Community.”

Hit the Mic Cincy’s MLK Jr. Virtual Open Mic

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Free Entry
Honor Dr. King’s legacy with some spoken word this year. Enjoy a night of poetic expression and reflection. This event is entirely virtual and held over Zoom. Come with a piece and have an open discussion about MLK’s legacy. This year, spend MLK Day speaking your truth and embracing unity.

Not on Monday, but on Tuesday, Jan. 16....

Cincinnati’s National Day of Racial Healing

Tuesday, January 16
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Greater Cincinnati Foundation (Downtown)
Free Entry
The Cincinnati National Day of Racial Healing brings leaders together from communities across the Greater Cincinnati Area and worldwide, from diverse backgrounds and identities, to build relationships and work toward transformation. The one-day event is an opportunity to unite ALL people in their common humanity and inspire collective action to create a more just and equitable city. The sessions offer spaces to acknowledge truths and collaborate to create meaningful change.

We Can Do Better

At ERS. we believe We Can Do Better. That's the name of an initiative President and CEO Laura Lamb launched in 2020 to increase diversity and inclusiveness within our organization and the residents we serve. Click here to learn more...



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Mike Rutledge

Mike Rutledge

Mike Rutledge has been Content Marketing Specialist for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) since early 2022. He writes articles, blogs and other information to inform people about things happening at ERS’ retirement communities of Marjorie P. Lee an... Read More >

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