Martin Luther King Jr
Rev. Martin Luther King during a press conference on Nov. 6 1964. Photo credit: Dick DeMarsico/World Telegram & Sun/Public Domain

Alternative versions of several events traditionally marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Los Angeles will be held Monday, including a televised celebration substituting for the Kingdom Day Parade and a virtual Minecraft March on Washington.

The “2021 Kingdom Day Celebration” will air from 11 a.m.-noon on KABC-TV Channel 7 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 will include 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 has 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 will feature non-player characters of the civil rights leaders involved in the march. Participants will tour exhibits and virtually interact with NPCs of Sunday’s activists continuing to fight for King’s dream of a just and equitable society for all.

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

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

Participants will need a Minecraft Java license for PC, Mac or Linux only to participate. The program is not supported on mobile or other platforms.

The re-enactment can be accessed from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. after registering at laworks.com/MLK. Each two-hour session starts on the hour.

L.A. Works will also conduct Zoom workshops on race’s effects on homelessness, criminal justice and food insecurity. More information on the workshops can also be found at laworks.com/MLK.

Long Beach’s Virtual MLK Day of Celebration will begin at 10 a.m. with a two-hour online program featuring music, art and community and civic voices celebrating King’s legacy and lessons. It can be seen on the city’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LongBeachCity, or YouTube page, www.youtube.com/user/LongBeachCityCA.

The celebration also includes three virtual service projects that can 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.

More information on the celebration and projects is available at leadershiplb.org/mlk/

The volunteer organization Big Sunday will conduct a virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Block Party & Clothing Collection on Zoom from 11 a.m.-noon.

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 is also seeking 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/.

The California African American Museum will hold a free virtual celebration from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., highlighting King’s dedication to labor and workers’ rights and these movements continued importance in the present. Registration can be made at caamuseum.org/programs/special-events/mlk-day-celebration-2021.

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