How to Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Westchester

Here are top ways you and your family can remember the legacy of Dr. King through media and in-person events in Westchester. 

It can be hard finding family activities that honor the memory and the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Yet in a time when those teachings are so needed, we wanted to make sure you can find ways to do just that. Here are our top picks for virtual, at-home, and in-person plans you can make this year.

To Read

This MLK Day, consider introducing your little ones to Doctor King with a copy of I Am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Metzer. The bestselling novelist and comic writer teamed up with illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos for a series of biographical picture books ideal for a first meeting with historical figures such as King. Cute and accessible, the pages are also filled with detailed information.

Older kids may also enjoy the graphic novel trilogy March by the late MLK contemporary and former U.S. representative John Lewis.

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To Watch

All things considered, it’s a lot easier to get multiple children to settle down on the couch for a movie than it is for joint reading time. While many of our MLK Day movie recommendations would be a bit mature for the whole family, we highly recommend 1999’s direct-to-video time travel classic Our Friend, Martin.

The story follows two sixth-graders with very little respect or understanding for the civil rights movement who end up traveling through time to meet Martin Luther King Jr. at various periods in the leader’s life. The all-star cast features appearances by Dexter and Yolanda King (portraying their father and aunt, respectively), as well as LeVar Burton, Jaleel White, Ed Asner, Angela Bassett, Danny Glover, Whoopie Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, Ashley Judd, Susan Sarandon, John Travolta, and Oprah Winfrey.

At just over an hour, it’s an easy and excellent introduction into some of the more important events and goals of King’s life without feeling as emotionally heavy as films like Selma, and it’s readily available to stream online.

For the older crowd, King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis is also available to stream online for free, via Kanopy, with any active Westchester library card or a University login.

To Do

Community Events

The Town of Rye and Crawford Park Mansion host a special musical performance as part of the Winter Concert Series for MLK Day. On Sunday, January 14, at 2 p.m., stop by to hear a celebration concert that celebrates the intersection of cultural music traditions.

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African American Men of Westchester will be holding its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Youth Awards Luncheon on Monday at 11:30 a.m. The awards ceremony honors King’s messages and legacy of hope and unity by recognizing four young Westchester students who represent these ideals through acts of service and leadership within their communities. Selected students will be awarded with $2,500 scholarships to recognize their contributions to the community. This year’s ceremony will be held at the Sleepy Hollow Conference Center in Tarrytown.

On January 15 at 1 p.m., Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site in Mount Vernon hosts a virtual talk on the civil rights struggles and triumphs of Dr. King. Dr. William Seraile, an author and professor emeritus at Lehman College, will lead the lecture.

Yorktown for Justice hosts an event to honor MLK Day with learning, music, and refreshments in Yorktown Heights on Monday at 1 p.m.

MLK Day of Service

If you’re looking to give back to the community yourself, Volunteer New York! has once again organized an MLK Day of Service, with multiple volunteer opportunities between now and January 31. This year’s event includes a webinar on Monday at 10 a.m. for locals to learn more about civic circles and ways to address local challenges.

The Shames JCC also hosts a day of service in honor of MLK Day. Join the center for volunteer opportunities in 90-minute shifts throughout the day to pack meal boxes and sort medical supplies for those in need.

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In Croton-on-Hudson, head to Sprout Lake Westchester to take part in Dream to Action: MLK Day of Service for Families. The family-friendly event offers two sections designed to empower families to give back and inspire young minds.

Events for Kids

On January 11, the Mount Kisco Library hosts a peace symbol craft workshop at 4:30 p.m. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Ossining Public Library invites families to stop by on January 13 at 11 a.m. for a Happy Birthday Dr. King! Storytime.

Jacob Burns Film Center welcomes families for two special showings to celebrate Black stories. Whether you opt for the January 13 show at 11 a.m. or the January 15 show at 1 p.m., you’ll be able to catch meaningful flicks that spotlight Black narratives.

Sign your child up for the Hartsdale MLK Jr. Day Camp for a full day of fun and learning on Monday. This program costs $150 per child and is ideal for those ages five to 10.

Over in Ardsley, kids can have a blast during the MLK Day of Non-stop Activities, which is suitable for those ages four to 11 and costs $175.

National Parks

MLK Day is also a free entrance holiday at all national parks. While we might be a ways away from the likes of Yosemite, “national parks” technically includes more local spots like the Old Croton Aqueduct, Sleepy Hollow’s Old Dutch Church, Philipse Manor Hall, the Elephant Hotel of Somers, and plenty more.

P.S. Looking for more things to do? Head to our online calendar.

Related: Legends Steve Martin and Martin Short Talk Comedy and Cancel Culture

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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