martin luther king day

Martin Luther King Day in the DMV

Our area has many celebrations every year observing the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many local governments and organizations have expanded MLK Day to MLK Week of Service, offering volunteer opportunities for the whole family. These are a wonderful way to teach your kids and teens about serving your community and working together to effect change. (And some activities offer your student SSL credit.)

Below are some of the events planned for MLK Day 2022 in the DMV. Some are both in-person and virtual, others in-person only, others virtual only. At press time not all organizers have finalized their events; visit the websites for updates and details on registration.


Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation annual tribute event Jan. 16, 5-6:30 p.m. in the Wakefield High School auditorium. “His Truth is Marching On” follows a group of students as they uncover Arlington’s connection to Dr. King. The program, written by Arlington resident Anne Smith and produced by Encore Stage & Studio, also tells the story of Dr. King, John Lewis and others as they prepare for the March on Washington in 1963. Music from Kimberly D. Gordon and original spoken word by Kim B. Miller. Free.

Martin Luther King Service Learning Day at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, Va. Jan. 17, 10:30-11:30 am. Registration required. For ages 4-adult. Rotate through stations to hear a story about the civil rights movement and play team-building games to discover the power of cooperation. Paint watercolor artworks to donate to a senior home. Instruction tailored to the age of the participant. $8 per person.

Reston Community Center Jan. 15-17 events include the MLK Birthday Celebration Especially for Youth, Jan. 17, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods, for ages 6-12. Children will rotate through a series of activities, including an age-appropriate video and arts and crafts.

Volunteer Fairfax MLK, Jr. Weekend of Service Jan. 17. A variety of volunteer opportunities will be available for families, teens and grandparents.


Living the Dream … Singing the Dream 34th Annual Choral Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jan. 30, 7:00 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The combined choirs of Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs and The Choral Arts Society of Washington celebrate the power of music, collaboration and the human spirit.

Clean Waterways Cleanup: MLK Day of Service 2022 Jan. 17, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Presented by Anacostia Riverkeeper. Celebrate Dr. King and the memory of Joseph Glover, Founder and Chair of Pope Branch Park Restoration Alliance.

National Portrait Gallery Young Portrait Explorers series Jan.19,11–11:30 a.m. and 3–3:30 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. virtual workshop for children ages 3-6 and their adult companions. Learn about art, history and more with 30-minute activity that incorporates close look at portraiture, movement and artmaking. Free. Online via Zoom.

National Museum of African American History & Culture Dr. King’s Original “I have a dream speech” speech will be on display Jan. 14-Feb. 26, 2022.


City of Rockville Virtual Interactive Event and Awards Ceremony Jan. 17. Hosted by Harmony’s African American Legacy Organization (HALO), founded by a groundbreaking quartet of African American singers. HALO uses singing and the active listening experience of barbershop music as a framework for conversations concerning sociopolitical issues like racial equity.

City of Rockville will also have volunteer activities Jan. 17-23 such as a trail clean-up at Croydon Creek Nature Center, creating a care kit for an immigrant/refugee, making a blanket for a sick child or creating a thank-you note for a senior.

Montgomery County Volunteer Center Jan. 15-22, choose from a variety of virtual, home-based or safely distanced activities. Examples are Weed Warrior Workdays Jan. 15-19 in various stream valleys and parks with Montgomery Parks M-NCPPC and assembling cleaning care kits to help families in need with the nonprofit Small Things Matter on Jan. 17.

Rock Creek Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service and Montgomery Parks. Help with invasive plant removal at local trails Jan. 15 or 17.

Montgomery Parks Locust Grove Nature Center, Bethesda, Md. Jan. 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Ages 5 and up. Volunteer outdoors making improvements to the grounds and assisting with eco-friendly projects. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Registration required:


AmeriCorps: In addition to searching for MLK Day events and volunteer opportunities on their website by zip code, you can search by cause areas (such as children and youth) and skills (such as children and family) or great for “kids/teens/groups/seniors” to narrow the search in your area. Projects will continue to be updated leading up to MLK Day on January 17.

Smithsonian’s online Learning Lab has many educational resources related to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Go to and search Martin Luther King.


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