Photo courtesy of Flint Public Art Project, mural artist: Kevin Burdick 

January 17 marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday marking the birth of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement.

On the day, schools and some workplaces receive the day off, which is often referred to rather as a “day on” with the intention of encouraging acts of service for the betterment of the community to honor Dr. King’s legacy.

The day can also serve as an opportunity to explore and educate yourself and your family on Black history and modern Black culture in the Flint & Genesee community.

Here are some of the ways you can spend this Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Celebrate Dr. King

There are a number of events happening in Flint & Genesee with the purpose of celebrating Dr. King’s legacy. These events include:

The 16th Annual Mentoring Inspiration Luncheon presented by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flint & Genesee County. The virtual celebration will take place Monday, January 17 at 9 a.m. and will feature keynote speaker Dr. Kent D. Key. To RSVP, call (810) 235-0617, or email

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at the Flint Institute of Arts. In collaboration with the Flint Public Library, this event celebrates Dr. King’s legacy featuring keynote speaker Dr. Debra Furr-Holden, Ph.D. and emcee Rev. Moses Bingham from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. The celebration will take place Monday, January 17 from 2 – 5 p.m.

Give Back

One way to honor Dr. King’s Legacy is to give back to the community. In Flint & Genesee, there are several ways you can do so.

The United Way of Genesee County has provided virtual opportunities for individuals to participate in on Martin Luther King Jr. Day through its Genesee Serves website. Activities include making laundry soap at home, making recycled t-shirt dog toys and making calming sensory bottles. All activities can be found on the Genesee Serves website.

Other places you can volunteer on January 17 or another day include Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Genesee County Habitat for Humanity and the Flint River Watershed Coalition.

Get out in the community

Get out and explore the culture in the Flint & Genesee Community. You can do so by visiting local museums or by supporting a local Black-owned business. Discover Black-owned businesses in Flint & Genesee in these Explore Flint & Genesee Blog posts:

One local exhibition you can visit this Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Drawing from Life: Ed Watkins at the Flint Institute of Arts which opens January 15.