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What are you doing for others? — Celebrating MLK Day 2023

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech that concluded the march on Washington for jobs and freedom to highlight the daily struggles of African Americans. The march, organized by Dr. King contributed to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on color, religion, sex or national origin.

Martin Luther King Day (MLK Day) has been observed as a day to respond to his familiar question “what are you doing for others?” - a day for people to give back to their communities. Many activities and events are held to commemorate MLK Day in Boston such as marches, speeches and community projects. If you are fortunate enough to have MLK day off from work, school or other responsibilities, consider some of these ways to celebrate, commemorate or give back to your community:

  • Unveiling of the Embrace: This monument to the Kings located in Boston Common, designed by Hank Willis Thomas, was unveiled Friday, Jan. 13 and based on a historic photograph of the Kings with their arms interlocking in a hug. For more information, visit this link

  • 53rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast: Despite in-person tickets being sold out for this annual event, you can register to watch via livestream for free. The New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb will be featured as this year’s keynote speaker.

  • MFA Boston Open House: Massachusetts residents get free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston for a celebration of King’s advocacy Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dorchester DJ WhySham provides music, and visitors can contribute to a collaborative painting started by the Boston-based nonprofit Artists for Humanity. The day will also include a discussion of “The Embrace” with its designer, Hank Willis Thomas, and a performance by Stephen Hamilton and Amanda Shea as part of the MFA exhibit “Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas”.

  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Day of Service: Engage with King’s work through free events Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. designed to prompt personal reflections on his message. Visitors can make their own political sign or participate in community conversations with local artists, as well as listen to “The Embrace” monument designer Hank Willis Thomas and others discuss themes of social justice.

  • Mayor Michelle Wu at Boston University: Mayor Michelle Wu will speak at this 90-minute event Monday at BU’s George Sherman Union building, which will also be livestreamed. Cuyahoga Community College professor Derrick Williams leads a talk and the New England Conservatory performs, according to a tweet by the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture.

  • Hyde Park Virtual Discussion: To learn how “The Embrace” came to be, attend this virtual discussion at 12:30 p.m Monday between Boston City Councilor-at-Large Ruthzee Louijeune and Embrace Boston’s executive director, Imari K. Paris Jeffries. Louijeune and Jeffries will go into the history of the project and the Hyde Park community’s role in the event, hosted by the Racial Equity and Justice Forum of Hyde Park .

  • Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras: This free Monday concert by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras will feature music from the symphony’s Intensive Community Program, dedicated to making classical music accessible to communities of color. A collaboration with the Museum of African American History, the event at 1 p.m. at the Great Hall at Faneuil Hall includes a keynote by artist and activist L’Merchie Frazier and speaking presentations honoring King. Reserve your free ticket at

  • Cambridge MLK Day of Service: Join a walk on MLK Day through the Black and brown neighborhoods of Cambridge, volunteer in Central Square, or initiate a donation drive of your choice. You must pre register to participate at

Boston Children’s Chorus, “Becoming King”: Boston Children’s Chorus will perform a tribute concert to Martin Luther King Jr. for the 20th year. Attend the performance at Boston Symphony Hall at 4 p.m Monday or listen via a livestream. The concert charts King’s journey within the Civil Rights movement. Tickets range from $15-75.


Angela Carlson, LMHC, received her Master’s from Lesley University in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in expressive arts therapy. She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings doing case management, crisis intervention, psychiatric day treatment, and therapy for individuals, groups, and families. She is experienced in providing services to people struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, substance abuse and addiction, dual-diagnoses, trauma and stressor related disorders, obsessive compulsive traits, borderline personality traits, eating disorders, and other mental health symptoms.

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