Martin Luther King Celebrations Bring Together People from All Walks of Life

By Robyn Lebron

As we ponder all the different messages that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left as his legacy, there is so much to learn from: his call for freedom and justice for all people, his comments about peaceful protests for a righteous cause, and his profound quote about unity. “We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

There were countless celebrations and activities honoring the different facets of Dr. King’s legacy on Martin Luther King Day this year, but we will focus on two events that focused on his call for unity.

The Interfaith Roundtable of Kaua’i (IROK), a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative, commemorated with a celebration of cultural diversity with the theme One Garden, Many Flowers. Al Albergate, co-chair of IROK, shared that the planning team chose this theme because of a desire to focus on unity.

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URI members celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day across US


United Religions Initiative Cooperation Circles across the United States honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy on and around Monday, January 16.




Arizona Faith Network

Arizona Faith Network and their partners  kicked off the “Uniting Faiths of America” Campaign with a march in Phoenix. Over 100 faith leaders joined as they marched together in the Annual Phoenix Martin Luther King Jr. Walk.  

Over 100 Faith Leaders -- Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Bahai, Unitarian Universalists and more! -- joined the MLK March in Phoenix to demonstrate Interfaith Solidarity. We belong to each other!
Over 100 faith leaders — Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Bahai, Unitarian Universalists and more! — joined the MLK March in Phoenix to demonstrate Interfaith Solidarity. We belong to each other!


“At this key time in our country’s history, we choose to demonstrate solidarity, peace, and commitment to one another. We choose to model positive interaction and cooperation betweenpeople of different faiths, creeds and backgrounds and in so doing, hope to influence discourse and action in a way that serves the common good,” they said. 

Click here for more information. 

Charter for Compassion 

The Charter for Compassion and partners presented an online event at 8 am PST on January 11 entitled “The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the power of his philosophy in the world today; how injustice and moral outrage can energize, organize and mobilize communities for service and change.” RInformation here.

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County

ICCCC hosted and attended several events on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. At noon, they gathered at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church for music from St. Benedict’s Gospel Choir (Oakland) and Dwight Stone, as well as keynote speech by Father Kwame Assenyoh on “Transforming Our Society: King’s ‘Tough Mind and Tender Heart.'” Refreshments and conversation will follow. 

At 2  p.m., the “ICCCC Standing in Solidarity” event worked to create the Beloved Community that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught about by encouraging a collective culture of care, belonging and equality. The group gathered at the corner of Civic & North Broadway in Walnut Creek as a peaceful, non-violent show of support for all of those who have felt victimized or targeted in the last few months. They stood on the sidewalks of the four corners of intersection and share support and sentiments of love, peace and justice with those driving by.

The group then moved to the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church for the 10th Annual ISRV Celebration of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream of nonviolence and peace. All were invited join for a time of reflection, prayer, and songs of peace and freedom. The service will be followed by a Candlelight Peace Walk at the Iron Horse Trail at Prospect Avenue in Downtown Danville to celebrate the unity of our faiths. All were welcome to attend both or either event. You can get more information by calling 925-837-5243.

Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada

The Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada encouraged members to attend an event put on by Lift Up Vegas supporting happiness and well-being research, education and advocacy in Las Vegas. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked our nation to support all individuals including those of color, in claiming the

“Martin Luther King, Jr. asked our nation to support all individuals including those of color, in claiming the the Declaration of Independence’s assertion that all individuals have the right to the “Pursuit of Happiness.” But what does that mean to us, today?” the group asked. 

Interfaith Roundtable of Kaua’i

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day hosted by IROK featured a new twist this year with an invitation for everybody on the island to stand up and walk together for what they believe is important as King and his comrades once did. The celebration began at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, January 16, 2017 at the Lihue Neighborhood Center.

Participants walked together around Isenberg Park, carrying posters. The theme “Inspiring the Leaders of Tomorrow,” targets children and young people with the hope they will grow up knowing how to resolve conflicts lovingly and respectfully, without violence; and to stand up for victims of bullying.

Following the walk, everybody was invited into the Neighborhood Center for refreshments and a program, including an introduction to the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.; high school peer mediators teaching six steps you can take to stop a conflict quickly; speeches from Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Sabra Kauka, and the announcement of the winners of the island-wide coloring contest.

At noon a free lunch was be served with the idea of creating a “marketplace of ideas” with people sitting together and discussing a subject that is important to them such as love, respect, conflict resolution, mentoring and others. Click here for more information. 

 Interfaith Works of Central New York 

InterFaith Works’ Senior Companion Program honored the legacy of Dr. King by participating in the MLK Day of Service. The Senior Companions gathered on Monday, Jan. 16, from 9 a.m. to noon, to support the United Way’s Food and Clothing Drive at the Southwest Community Center, 401 South Ave., Syracuse.

In addition, the Interfaith Works offices also hosted Congregation Beth Shalom-Chevra Shas to read books with our New American Children. Children also decorated book bags and filled them with books to take home. 

Marin Interfaith Council and Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance 

MLK Celebration in MarinThe Marin Interfaith Council and Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance, along with other organizations, celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life story with an inspiring candlelight vigil. Co-sponsored with Unity In Marin, they dove into deep conversation with leaders from the community on the theme of bringing the dream to life. As they reflected on and honor Dr. King, they listened to the “good ole gospel songs” directed by Cindy Acker with Bobby Finney, friends from Bay Area Gospel Choirs, and award-winning Gospel pianist Grace Renaud.


Rothko Chapel

The Fierce Urgency of Now, a lecture by Leonard Pitts, Jr.The Rothko Chapel hosted their Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration on January 15 with a reception on the Plaza,  a ceremony welcoming the return of Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk and a lecture by American commentator, award-winning journalist and novelist, Leonard Pitts, Jr., on “The Fierce Urgency of Now.” 

The chapel also hosted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Audio Installation throughout the day on January 16, which will play speeches from MLK’s life throughout the day. All are invited to, “Come listen to the quiet of the Chapel resonate with MLK’s voice.”

San Francisco Interfaith Council

The San Francisco Interfaith Council invited faith leaders and their congregants to join in the 2017 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebrations to on January 16 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens. The 2017 March/Parade, with the theme “Today’s Youth … Tomorrow’s Leaders”, left from the Caltrain Depot at 4th and Townsend. Once the March arrived at the Yerba Buena Gardens the 7th Annual Interfaith Commemoration Ceremony commenced.  A host of other activities and programs took place to mark the occasion may be found on the San Francisco Interfaith Council partner organization’s website

United Religions Initiative – Northeast Tennessee Cooperation Circle

About 300 people joined a two-mile walk in commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Johson City with the theme “Unity! Harmony! Love!” The walk was organized by the Northeast Tennessee Cooperation Circle and other area faith leaders. You can read more about the march here