Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2019 events around Phoenix honor civil-rights leader – AZCentral


Gospel concerts, days of service, marches and festivals are some of the ways communities throughout the Phoenix area will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in 2019.

The celebrations will include high-profile visits to the Valley by civil rights activist Carmen Perez and singer Damien Sneed.

The holiday in recognition of the slain civil rights leader is Monday, Jan. 21, but commemorations are not limited to that day.

Here is a list of celebrations if you would like to get involved in your community.

Tempe: MLK Diversity Awards Breakfast

This is the 21st year the Tempe Human Relations Commission has held this event to honor local individuals, businesses and community groups that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in Tempe. Keynote speaker is East Valley NAACP President Roy Tateu.

Details: 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14. Tempe Marriott at the Buttes Resort, 2000 Westcourt Way. $10. 480-350-2905, www.tempe.gov.

Scottsdale: Community Dinner Celebration

Activist Carmen Perez is the keynote speaker for Scottsdale’s 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Dinner Celebration. Perez has worked on civil rights issues including mass incarceration, women’s rights and gender equality, violence prevention, racial healing and community policing. Registration begins at 5 p.m.; the program starts at 6 p.m.

Details: 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16. Embassy Suites Scottsdale Resort, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road. $75. 480-312-3030, www.ccdarizona.org/mlk-events.

Phoenix: Torch Run/MLK Awards & Scholarship Breakfast

Students will carry a torch from Phoenix City Hall to the convention center to start this event. The breakfast honors citizens who have strived to bring positive change to the community.

Details: 6:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 18. Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St. $100. 602-513-8311, azmlk.org

Arizona State University

Arizona State University is hosting its 34th annual celebration of the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with events at its Tempe, Phoenix and West campuses. Some events are open to the public.

Details: Saturday-Thursday, Jan. 19-24. Times and locations vary. See www.asu.edu/mlk for specifics.

Surprise: Day of Celebration and Service

Keynote speaker is Clay Dix, who has been honored for his commitment to diversity and parenting. Dix founded and directed the New Choices Program, an alcohol and drug treatment program that also develops parenting skills and prevents child abuse and neglect.

Details: 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. Surprise City Hall courtyard, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. Free. 623-222-1000, www.surpriseaz.gov/3613/MLK-Day-of-Celebration.

Chandler: Multicultural Festival

Chandler’s 24th Multicultural Festival takes place Jan. 19 at the Downtown Stage just west of the Chandler Library. The event includes music, dance and other performances and there will be a variety of ethnic foods for sale. Performers include Arizona Art Academy, Axé Capoeira, Bailamos Perú, Ballot Folkorico Quetzalli, Futuristic Dance Group and Shenzhou Qipao. At about 7:15 p.m. there will be a screening of “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet,” presented by the Chandler International Film Festival.

Details: 2-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. Downtown Stage, 178 E. Commonwealth Avenue, Chandler. Free. chandleraz.gov/multiculturalfestival.

Chandler Candlelight vigil

The Chandler Diversity Office and Chandler Men of Action are holding a candlelight vigil at the Downtown Stage. The event includes speeches from community leaders and musical performances. After the vigil, attendees can view the documentary “Rare Breed,” which features a day in the life of Alex Dees, an African-American rancher who helped establish the Brangus breed of cattle in Yuma. There is no cost for the screening, but donations to Chandler Men of Action will be accepted.

Details: 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20. Downtown Stage, 178 E. Commonwealth Avenue, Chandler. Free. chandleraz.gov/multiculturalfestival.

Phoenix: MLK Candlelight Ceremony Concert

Valley youths will sing and play instruments, dance and give oral presentations in this celebration that will also recognize scholarship recipients. The culmination is a performance by the Candlelight Mass Choir.

Details: 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20. Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Free. Azmlk.org.

Phoenix: MLK march and festival

Take part in a march symbolic of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1968 march led by community leaders and city officials. March starts at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church and ends at Margaret T. Hance Park, where the festival will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. It includes vendors, entertainment and a health fair.

Details: 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21. Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Free. azmlk.org.

Mesa: East Valley Parade and Festival

Mesa and the Mesa MLK Committee present their annual parade on Jan. 21. Community organizations, businesses, churches, dance groups, bands and representatives from other cities will take part in the downtown event. Parade route is Center Street south to First Street and west on First Street to Robson. Festival begins after the parade until 4 p.m.

Details: 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21. Center Street, downtown Mesa. Free. www.mesaaz.gov/things-to-do/martin-luther-king-jr-parade.

Peoria: Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Renowned Valley musician Walt Richardson will perform at Centennial Plaza in celebration of the holiday. Richardson has been performing his variations on folk, reggae and rock tunes for more than 30 years.

Details: 2-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21. Centennial Plaza, 9875 N. 85th Ave., Peoria. Free. Peoriaaz.gov

Scottsdale: The Martin Luther King Legacy: A Music and Media Tribute

A joyous birthday celebration with traditional gospel music and media. Led by the Nativity Music Ministry and local jazz musicians.

Details: 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21. Episcopal Church of the Nativity, 22405 N. Miller Road, Scottsdale. Free. 480-307-9216, nativityscottsdale.org.

Peoria: Unity Walk

Join community members and Peoria students for a short walk to celebrate unity and peace. Meet in the plaza in front of Peoria City hall for the walk to Centennial Plaza.

Details: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. 8401 W. Monroe St., Peoria. Free. peoriaaz.gov

Mesa: Damien Sneed

Multi-genre recording artist Damien Sneed brings his “We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” tour to the Mesa Arts Center. Snead blends classical, jazz and gospel music in his performances. Sneed has worked with artists including Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis and Stevie Wonder.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. $41. 480-644-6500, mesaartscenter.com.

Tempe: East Valley Unity Walk

Gather at Tempe Beach Park for a 1-mile walk around Tempe Town Lake. Free T-shirts representing the participating cities will be distributed to walkers while supplies last. Prior to the walk (starting at 4:30 p.m.) refreshments and entertainment will take place at the park.

Details: 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Free. www.tempe.gov 

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