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Brooklyn honors 37th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with tributes of song, protest, and service

people sing at martin luther king jr day event at BAM
Brooklynites all over the borough honored the work and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday — remembering his life and work with music, volunteering, and more.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Organizations across Brooklyn marked the 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with commemorative programs chock full of local talent — including moving musical performances, dramatic art displays, emotional speeches and more. The events memorialized King’s life and his work, educated young Brooklynites about his legacy, and worked to uphold and carry on the values he preached. 

Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's (BAM) 37th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 16.
Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) 37th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 16.Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

BAM Tribute 

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) hosted their annual tribute at their Howard Gilman Opera House on Monday. A crowd joined to hear from speakers including Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul, BAM president Gina Duncan, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and more. Sing Harlem and Allison Russell brought the entertainment with expressive performances. 

Sing Harlem took the BAM stage - sharing their talents with the croad gather for the annual MLK Day Tribute.
Sing Harlem took the BAM stage – sharing their talents with the crowd gathered for the annual MLK Day Tribute.Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office.
BAM's 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration showcased city talents and keynote speaker, Sherrilyn Ifill.
BAM’s 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration showcased city talents and keynote speaker, Sherrilyn Ifill.Photo by Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

In her speech, Hochul recalled reading a book about King’s life while he was still alive. Her parents, raising her and her siblings in a “pretty conservative part of the state,” brought them along to civil rights marches and events inspired by King and his colleagues.

“So, the night Dr. King was assassinated, we held our hands around the table and wept because I was raised in a social justice Catholic family and we knew what he meant to so many people,” Hochul said. “We also knew his story could not die in that moment, and that is why we gather every single year, to refresh the memory, to teach the young children of our responsibilities.”

Hochul said she will use her post as governor to fight for what’s right in New York. 

“We’re going to take on those fights, and I’ll do that emboldened knowing that the people have given me this gift of leadership,” she said.”But it’s not one that I’ll ever take for granted because just like Dr. King, I feel that sense of responsibility to others and I’ll continue to heed his life story and his message as an inspiration to take on the fights.”

Brooklyn Children’s Museum celebration

Brooklyn’s Children Museum held a three-day festival where the little tots learned more about the late civil rights activist through hands on activities, poster making and marches. 

“Celebrate MLK was a huge success. This year was our biggest to date in terms of attendance – with almost 7,000 people visiting,” Stephanie Hill Wilchfort, president and CEO of BCM, told Brooklyn Paper. “We wanted this to be a weekend where Brooklyn families could learn about Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy in a hands-on way , through art, music, and volunteerism. It was incredibly moving to see parents and children experiencing MLK’s legacy in a tangible way.”

 
Kids marched through the halls of the museum holding up their own handmade protest posters – getting a taste of activism for the first time. 
 

Brooklyn children created posters with inspirational messages and marched around the facility in unity.
Brooklyn children created posters with inspirational messages and marched around the facility in unity. Photo by Winston Williams/Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
BCM's MLK celebrations started on Saturday, Jan. 14 and concluded on Monday, Jan. 16.
BCM’s MLK celebrations started on Saturday, Jan. 14 and concluded on Monday, Jan. 16. Photo by Winston Williams/Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
The children marched with personalized poster they created.
The children marched with personalized poster they created. Photo by Winston Williams/Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Prospect Park Alliance volunteer day

Organizers with Prospect Park and local do-gooders spent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemorating his legacy with a day of service. According to a spokesperson with the park, over 90 volunteers came out to spread mulch, edge and sweep paths, rake leaves and remove litter near the Music Pagoda.

“Prospect Park Alliance is thrilled to participate in this day of service and so excited about the great response we received from the community,” the spox said. 

It was all hands on deck at Prospect Park Alliance's day of service in honor of MLK.
It was all hands on deck at Prospect Park Alliance’s day of service in honor of MLK. People of all ages came out to clean up the park.  Photo by Marcia Williams/Prospect Park Alliance.
Nearly 100 volunteers spent the day cleaning up Brooklyn's biggest park. Photo by Marcia Williams/Prospect Park Alliance.
Nearly 100 volunteers spent the day cleaning up Brooklyn’s biggest park. Photo by Marcia Williams/Prospect Park Alliance.

Nearly 100 volunteers spent the day cleaning up Brooklyn's biggest park.

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