Martin Luther King
Photo from Pixabay
Martin Luther King
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Photo from Pixabay

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday is being celebrated this year in Los Angeles — as in much of America — in ways impacted by the continuing Coronavirus pandemic.

Alternative versions of several events traditionally marking King Day are being held in Southern California, including a televised celebration substituting for the traditional Kingdom Day Parade and a virtual Minecraft March on Washington.

The “2021 Kingdom Day Celebration” is being broadcast on ABC7 with the theme “Healing America.” Its meaning is to “say or do only those actions which Dr. King himself would be saying or doing if he were here. Dr. King was about healing and justice,” organizers said.

The celebration includes an interview with King’s oldest son, Martin Luther King III, highlights from past parades, interviews with local newsmakers about King’s effect on their lives and celebrity appearances.

The coronavirus pandemic prompted L.A. Works to offer four virtual programs, including a virtual Minecraft March on Washington to continue its Martin Luther King Jr. Day tradition of uniting Angelenos in service and activism.

The virtual re-enactment of the 1963 march features non-player characters of the civil rights leaders involved in the march. Participants tour exhibits and virtually interact with NPCs of Monday’s activists continuing to fight for King’s dream of a just and equitable society for all.

Participants then build a monument within the Minecraft world to reflect on their experience.

The March on Washington re-enactment features Minecraft re-creations of the National Mall, including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Players also directly interact with the King NPC, learning the history of his activism and the Civil Rights Movement.

L.A. Works also conducts Zoom workshops on race’s effects on homelessness, criminal justice and food insecurity.

Long Beach’s Virtual MLK Day of Celebration is a two-hour online program featuring music, art and community and civic voices celebrating King’s legacy and lessons.

The celebration also includes three virtual service projects that could be done from home:

— “Silver Letter Campaign,” writing letters or having children draw pictures that will be delivered to isolated senior citizens in local care facilities;

— “Go Beautify Long Beach,” a community project to educate and train residents on how to use the “Go Long Beach” app, and then join in efforts to register neighborhood beautification projects; and

— “Community Care Packages,” putting together care packages that will be distributed to residents in need throughout the city.

The volunteer organization Big Sunday conducted a virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Block Party & Clothing Collection on Zoom.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Big Sunday needs new clothes, which can be dropped off at its office at 6111 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood or ordered through its Target registry, www.target.com/gift-registry/giftgiver?registryId=fdaa85e3b3ae45cc88f0a46f9a97f258

Online signup for the clothing drive can be made at bigsundayorg.wufoo.com/forms/k1pl168z1i7cyyw/

Big Sunday also sought volunteers to write personal notes to be placed in each laundry kit. Registration for the project can be made at bigsundayorg.wufoo.com/forms/kdtl961nddvpr/.

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