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Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day at These Hudson Valley Events

Adobe Stock / Sergii Figurnyi

Honor the legacy of civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King Jr. at these online and in-person events in the Hudson Valley.

To help commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’ve compiled a list of events and volunteer opportunities throughout January in the Hudson Valley. From short film screenings to clothing drives, there’s a way for everyone to honor the late minister and activist this month.

Special Events

New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Paths to Change

Airing on PBS
January 15-16


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A “commemoration” of Dr. King’s work as a civil rights activist will air as a statewide broadcast event on PBS. Watch the program at home (air time varies regionally) or attend a free screening in-person on January 13 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

African American Men of Westchester Legacy Youth Awards

Airing on YouTube
January 16, 11:30 a.m.

In honor of Dr. King’s legacy, the African American Men of Westchester will honor four Westchester students “who represent the spirit of Dr. King” with $2,500 in academic scholarships at this virtual event.

Drum Major for Peace

January 16, 2 p.m.


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This afternoon of programming at the Rosendale Theatre includes a “reinterpretation” of Dr. King’s speech, “The Drum Major Instinct,” by Reverend Evelyne Clark, complemented by drummers Ubaka Hill and Fre Atlast as well as Faith Rodriquez of Energy Dance Company. Next, Newburgh resident, “multi-talented entrepreneur, and social creative powerhouse” Ralph M’Vore will grace the stage. The event will conclude with a screening of Soundtrack for a Revolution, “a unique mix of historical documentary and contemporary musical performance” featuring artists like John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots alongside civil rights figures such as Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, and Andrew Young.

NYICFF Celebrating Black Stories

January 16, 2 p.m.

Presented in partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival, this event at the Jacob Burns Film Center features a series of family-friendly short films “that share the joy, determination, resilience, and complexity of being Black and young” like Comic Escape, My Name Is Maluum, and Room Rodeo. Tickets are available online and range from $9-16.

Related: What to Do in Albany: A 24-Hour Guide to the Capital Region

MLK Day Unity Celebration

January 16, 3 p.m.

With the theme of “Yesterday’s Dream Deferred, Today’s Dream Come True,” this celebration of Dr. King’s legacy at Ramapo High School will feature vendor tables and a two-hour program beginning at 4 p.m.

21 Day Equity Challenge

Register online
January 17

Presented by United Way of Dutchess-Orange, this virtual program affords the opportunity “to develop a deeper understanding of how inequality affects our lives and our community” with daily recommendations of podcasts, articles, and videos.

Volunteer Opportunities

What better way to celebrate Dr. King’s memory than to lend a helping hand to someone in need? There are a number of volunteer events in Hudson Valley that could use your help.

Feeding Westchester

January 16-31

Donate funds, food, or your time as a volunteer in support of Feeding Westchester’s “It Starts With Me” campaign. Donations can be made online or in-person.

Adobe Stock / Drazen

MLK Day of Service Volunteer Painting Project

Mount Vernon
January 16, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

LIFE Progressive Services Group helps formerly incarcerated citizens by providing re-entry and transitional programs. At this event, volunteers will “paint three basement offices to help the organization look fresh for its guests.”

Winter Warmth Clothing Drive for New Rochelle Teens

New Rochelle
January 30-31

This yearly clothing drive culminates in “a free, one-day shopping boutique for teens ages 13-19 from families in financial need” with “new or gently worn, age-appropriate, and checked for quality.” Donate clothes by January 23, help with event setup on January 30, or man the event on January 31. Bilingual volunteers are especially encouraged to register.

Related: Here’s What to Do in the Hudson Valley This Week

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