Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the second holiday of the year (after New Year’s Day) and a chance to learn about history, do some good – and even have a little fun.
MLK-related events will begin Jan. 16, even though Martin Luther King, Jr. Day officially falls on Jan. 18. Acclaimed local storyteller Michael D. McCarty will visit Children’s Book World (10580½ W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; www.childrensbookworld.com) at 10:30 a.m. for a free event where he will share a variety of stories that touch upon African-American history, culture and experience in a way that will inform and entertain children.
This year, Cultural Diversity Days at Kidspace (480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena; www.kidspacemuseum.org) will last the entire holiday weekend, from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 16-17 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 18. Children can honor Dr. King’s work and legacy through a multicultural program of performances and activities, such as a Brazilian carnival procession, a Russian nesting egg workshop and a grape stomping pool. Admission is $11 for ages 1 and older.
On Jan. 18, you can take in the 31st Annual Kingdom Day Parade (www.kingdomdayparade.org), which takes place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. along a route from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue to Vernon Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. Presented by The Congress of Racial Equality Of California (CORE-CA), this year’s parade, with its “Our Work Is Not Yet Done” theme, will present a lineup of marching bands, dance troupes, drill teams and other local groups.
The Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; www.lacma.org) will welcome visitors with free admission from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on the 18th. You can roam the museum, go on a bilingual gallery tour, do a family art project and be entertained by the lively old-time music and dancing of the California Feetwarmers.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is also recognized as a Day of Service. Start off your holiday Monday by getting your hands dirty at the White Point Nature Preserve (1600 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro) from 9 a.m.-noon. Sign up at www.pvplc.volunteerhub.com to help park rangers clean up the native demonstration garden, which helps the local wildlife and the community.
Another volunteer opportunity has been organized by L.A. Works. Its 11th annual MLK Day project will be to help revitalize the campus of Woodcrest Elementary School (1151 W. 109th St., South L.A.). Volunteers will team up with Woodcrest students from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., to renovate dated murals, paint the school’s interiors and exteriors and beautify Woodcrest’s landscaping and gardens. The Jonathan Club will provide lunch. Children have to be 6 or older to participate, and ages 12 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Go to www.LAworks.com to sign up to volunteer.