6 Ways to Celebrate MLK Day With Kids (2023)

Martin Luther King Day will be observed this Monday, January 16th. Here are a few ways you and your kids can observe the holiday together around Milwaukee.

1. Dr Martin Luther King Birthday Celebration

This annual birthday celebration has been a Milwaukee tradition for more than 30 years. The free event will be held in person at the Marcus Performing Arts Center on Monday, January 16h from 4-6 p.m. The theme is “Working Toward a World of Peace”.

The event will highlight the winners of the Art, Writing, and Speech and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King.

The Marcus Center is located at 929 N. Water Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53202. Parking for the event will be free and is available in the attached parking structure on State Street.

2. MLK Day 2023 at the Library

The Martin Luther King Branch of the Milwaukee Public Library will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Monday, January 16 in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Join in for entertainment and activities that highlight this special day, including a community tree mural, live spoken word and dance performances, and birthday cake.

Here is the schedule:

9:00 am – 11:30 am  

Communi-Tree 
Collaborate to create a community tree mural that celebrates our roots, dreams, and aspirations for the future. Presented by MPL Teen Advisory Board. 

Magna Tiles 
Dream big and build even bigger with Magna Tiles.

Button Making 
Create your own special King Day pins. 

Play Chess 
Learn all about the facts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the King of all board games, chess. 

Reflections 
Listen to Dr. King’s words and soulful instrumentals while writing or drawing your reflections, thoughts and hopes for the new year in a journal. Enjoy coffee or tea while supplies last.  

9:30 am – 11:30 am

Community Art Project with Vibez Creative Arts Spaces
Participate in an arts and crafts project exemplifying peace, unity, and fellowship. 

Live Performances

12:00 pm    “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

12:05 pm    Greeting from City Librarian Joan Johnson,  
County Executive David Crowley, Mayor Cavalier Johnson and Ald. Milele Coggs.

12:20 pm    Chamber Choir  
Hear the melodic sounds from HOPE Fortis South Middle School students. 

12:30 pm    Xalaat Africa Youth Ensemble  
Be immersed in the sights and sounds of West African dance and music.

1:00 pm    Alpha Phi Alpha Trivia Contest  
Learn facts about the civil rights movement and earn prizes. 

1:35 pm    Signature Dance Company 
Marvel at a modern dance piece from performance company levels 1, 2 and Junior Company.

2:00 pm    Mario the Poet 
Be inspired by spoken word presented by Milwaukee’s Poet Laureate.

2:30 pm    A TRUE Skool Experience 
Enjoy a collaborative performance showcasing the elements of Hip Hop in celebration of Dr. King.

3:00 pm    Anthony McGahee and Praise Motivated
Be inspired by spoken word presented by Milwaukee’s Poet Laureate.

3:30 pm    Birthday Cake and Juice
Enjoy treats in the Community Room while supplies last. 

3. MLK Virtual National Day of Service Event

Kids Impact Community will be hosting a virtual National Day of Service event in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

This virtual all-ages celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day includes a special guest speaker, engaging story time, music and movement breaks, and an on-the-spot service project: a diaper and wipes collection for Milwaukee Diaper Mission.

There is an unlimited participation cap for families!

Link to Event: http://kicmke.org/event/mlk-project-series-virtual-national-day-service-event/

4. Youth Helping Youth: Pack Duffel Bags for Kids in Foster Care

This special project from Kids Impact Community allows children to take the lead on a service project engaging neighbors, friends, and family to pack a Fostering Hope duffel bag for kids in foster care, including items such as a book, a toy, new pajamas, and a lot of love. 

All duffel bags will be distributed by Kids Matter Inc., an organization that supports kinship and foster children as well as all community members working to keep kids safe. Kids Matter Inc. believes that every child needs someone in their corner. Through staff and volunteers, the organization makes sure that children and their foster families get the support they need.  Full details in link below. 

Link to Project: http://kicmke.org/event/mlk-foster-care/ 

5. Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center event

This year’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day has the theme ‘Love will bring peace and peace will bring a change’.

The free event will include spoken word and musical/arts performances, a keynote from Michelle Pitts and an endnote from County Executive David Crowley. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Tours and a membership sale also begin immediately after the event.

Find out more at countyparks.com.

6. “Little Lights, Big Benefits” at Rooted MKE

Register here

There will be a day of service and partnership at Rooted MKE. Families can come to pack children’s gift bags and enjoy story time and snacks.

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