Need to Know: Your Guide to Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Birmingham

Featured events include the Kids Against Hunger project at Harlan Elementary and the 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at The Community House.

It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and all around Birmingham, citizens are gathering to celebrate the life of the famed civil rights leader with special gatherings, service projects and more.

Wondering what's going on around town today and this week? Here's what you need to know:

20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

The Race Relations and Diversity Taskforce, in collaboration with the North Oakland County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will host the at 8 a.m. Monday at .

This year's theme is "Why is it taking so long?" Rochelle Riley, columnist for the Detroit Free Press, blogger and children's activist, will deliver the keynote address. Riley has won several awards for her political and social commentary, including the 2011 Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists and the 2011 Will Rogers Humanitarian Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for community service.

"(Riley) is a devoted advocate for improved race relations in metropolitan Detroit," said Coco Siewert, co-chair of the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. "For 20 years, the task force has celebrated the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, and we look forward to hearing Rochelle's insightful dialogue on how we all can engage and remain vigilant to improve race relations within our communities."

  • If you go: General admission tickets costs $25. Student tickets are $15. The event includes breakfast.

Birmingham students to spend Monday volunteering

Students and staff from and high schools will spend their day off from school Monday volunteering at organizations throughout Oakland County, including:

In addition, students and staff from will help deliver approximately 2 tons of food to Gleaners Food Bank and Grace Centers of Hope on Monday. After delivering the donated food, students will then continue to volunteer for part of the day at both facilities.

Kids Against Hunger at Harlan Elementary

Looking to get the children out and volunteering today? Stop by from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for Kids Against Hunger, a for families, Scouts, sports teams and everybody in between. Volunteers will help package 25,000 meals for Kenya Relief and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Plus, attendees can bring a canned food item for Detroit's City Mission.

After the boxes are packed, stick around for a variety of workshops geared toward adults and children about hunger and poverty issues in Detroit and around the world. Steve James of Kenya Relief will speak about his nonprofit organization, as will Jeff Adams of City Mission. Workshops will also be led by representatives from and Little Dresses for Africa. The Seaholm High School Drama Club will lead special workshops for children at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

  • If you go: The event costs $15 per person or $30 per family. 

Storytelling with Miz Rosie at Baldwin Public Library

Storyteller Rosie Chapman — also known as Miz Rosie — will bring history to life with her re-enactment of the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad at 3 p.m. Monday at . Chapman's performance includes audience partipation and has been experienced by children and families across the country.

  • If you go: Complimentary tickets can be picked up at the library's Youth Desk.

Don't forget: Check out what's open and closed today with .


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