Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
is joining forces with the City of Toledo’s all-volunteer
Human Relations Commission to organize this year’s event, to
be held Monday, January 18, 2021, 10 a.m., for a
virtual celebration to be broadcast via Facebook Live.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of this
The theme of this year’s celebration is “I’m Still Here,”
which mirrors a New York Times bestseller written by this
year’s keynote speaker
Austin Channing Brown:
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness.
Brown is a speaker, writer and activist, whose work has been
featured prominently in numerous high profile media outlets as
she highlights the ongoing realities of race in the 21st
century, along with the everyday happenings that allow racism to
survive. During her MLK address, Brown is expected to offer her
unique perspective on the thoughts, actions and attitudes needed
to help Blackness shine in today’s world.
The MLK Unity Day
celebration is usually an uplifting ceremony filled with songs
and speeches. Last year’s event featured a youth-oriented
service project for the first time. However, this year’s virtual
version may strike a deeper emotional chord with the audience,
as the speaker addresses some hard truths about racism that
morphed into mass protests and community conversations during a
tumultuous and divisive 2020.
While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of a world where people
would be evaluated not by the color of their skin, but by the
content of their character, there is growing sentiment that his
vision for America has yet to be realized—but change is coming
as a result of the events of last year.
Brown is also expected to offer hope for Dr. King’s vision and
help the audience recognize there remains the possibility of
racial justice in organizations and communities. Whether public
or private, there are tough conversations happening across
Toledo within groups, government organizations, and the greater
community about institutional racism and disproportionality.
The MLK Unity Day celebration can be accessed online via
More information about the event can be found at the UT website:
There also will be
“community read” events hosted by local groups to read and
discuss Ms. Brown’s book I’m Still Here. Dates, times, and links
are as follows:
7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021;
YWCA of Northwest Ohio:
7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 17;
Women of Toledo:
6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 20; and
Toledo-Lucas County Public Library:
5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.
Tri-C hosts Virtual Dr. King Celebration on Jan. 17.
annual celebration begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021.
The online remembrance will feature an assortment of musical
as well as scholarship presentations
and student speeches honoring the civil rights leader. Visit
to register for the free event.
The Tri-C celebration is the longest-running MLK event hosted in
Cleveland. The tradition began in 1977, six years before the
federal government designated a day to honor King. “Cuyahoga
Community College understood early on the importance of honoring
Dr. King’s dream of civil rights and racial harmony,” Tri-C
President Alex Johnson said. “We come together in his memory
to reflect on the power of collective action in fighting
Musical selections during the prerecorded program will feature
the Tri-C Vocal Arts Youth Choir,
The Cleveland Orchestra’s Martin
Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus, the Tri-C Orchestra, and the
Contemporary Youth Orchestra in residence at the College.
Speeches will be delivered by Kenzie Brown of Olmsted
Township and Steve Primeau of Parma, students from
Tri-C’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Scholars Academy.
A dozen Tri-C students
will be awarded scholarships from the Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. Humanitarian Scholarship Fund. The Cuyahoga Community
College Foundation established the fund in 1991 with support
from the Cleveland Teachers Union and other generous donors.
ALSO IN CLEVELAND,
the Cleveland Orchestra's annual Martin Luther King,
Jr. Celebration will take place, virtually of course,
due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “While it is sadly not
possible for all of us to gather at Severance Hall for this
year’s concert, The Cleveland Orchestra is committed to
continuing the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration into
its 41st year,” said André Gremillet, President & CEO of
Gremillet said the orchestra will offer free video performances
through the Adella streaming service and on social media
networks, in addition to concerts aired on TV and radio via a
partnership with ideastream.
“This year’s celebration highlights the work of Black composers
George Walker, Florence Price, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson,
and Cleveland native Leslie Adams in new and recent video
recordings performed by members of The Cleveland Orchestra” said
Mark Williams, chief artistic officer.
Members of the Cleveland Orchestra will share performances of
Walker's, Price's, Perkinson's and Adams' pieces on social
media. Those performances will begin being posted on social
media starting Jan. 18, 2021.
On Adella, the orchestra will stream
its 2018 MLK Celebration concert. The concert
will be available, for free, from Jan. 14 to to April 14, 2021.
That concert featured classical selections by Beethoven,
Respighi, and George Walker, as well as traditional hymns and
spirituals such as “Down by the Riverside,” “Precious Lord,” and
“Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
The 2018 MLK Celebration Concert will also air on WVIZ/PBS on Jan.
17 at 4 p.m. and Jan. 18 at 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. The 2019 concert
will air on 90.3 WCPN and ideastream.org on
Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. The 2020 concert will air on WCLV on 104.9
and ideastream on
Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.
ALSO IN CLEVELAND,
CPL partners with WOIO 19News to celebrate the life of Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cleveland Public
Library is partnering with WOIO 19News to broadcast
its 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Commemorative Celebration. There are three opportunities to
Sunday, January 17
WUAB Channel 43
Monday, January 18
WOIO Channel 19
Monday, January 18
WUAB Channel 43
Join the 36th Annual Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Commemorative Celebration virtually on Thursday, Jan. 14,
2021, at 11:45 a.m. Typically held at Trinity Episcopal
Church in downtown Columbus, this year’s event was
prerecorded and can be viewed at das.ohio.gov/mlk.
The Ohio MLK Holiday Commission will recognize the winners of
the 2021 MLK Awards, that honor Ohioans for their efforts
to advance nonviolent social change.
A highlight of the event is the student speakers who took first
place in their respective age divisions at the annual Statewide
MLK Youth Oratorical Contest, which is also sponsored by the
commission. Although the 2020 contest was canceled, the
prerecorded event will feature videos of several students who
competed in regional contests and had advanced to the statewide