Group photo of MLK event participants

2020 MLK Celebration activities

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


For many years, Western Michigan University’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee organized a celebration of Dr. King’s life, work and commitment to social justice. The Northside Ministerial Alliance had annually held a similar communitywide event at Chenery Auditorium.

In an impressive showing of town-gown partnership, the two organizations agreed to merge their events for a spectacular 2002 celebration. Since that time, the two have continued to work collaboratively to establish a celebration for Kalamazoo residents that highlights and captures the essence of the life and legacy of Dr. King.

During the ensuing years, several major events and numerous smaller ones have been built into what has become an annual celebration that launches in January each year. The community-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration continues to grow and evolve. Along with Northside Ministerial Alliance, WMU and the City of Kalamazoo, key sponsors also include Gryphon Place, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Ascension Borgess Hospital and Bronson Healthcare System.

2020 MLK CELEBRATION Activities

Each year, the MLK Celebration Planning Committee selects a theme based on the life and legacy of Dr. King that will be represented across the various celebration activities held within the community. This year’s theme is “Injustice to One is Injustice to All”.

Activities held during the celebration range from activities for students including art, reading and poetry competitions; to community-wide events including critical discussions, renowned speakers and a city-wide day of service.

Watch the social Justice Book Bowl video WATCH THE MLK CELEBRATION VIDEO