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Events to take part in this MLK Day in and around Cincinnati

Ann Thompson
Participants during a previous MLK Commemorative March in Cincinnati.

This year marks the 48th year for Cincinnati's MLK Commemorative March and Program, organized by the MLK Coalition.

Monday begins with breakfast at the Freedom Center, followed by a 10:30 a.m. march to Washington Park for a prayer service and program with keynote speaker Denisha Porter at Music Hall at noon.

The noontime event will be streamed live.

Speaker Denisha Porter, executive director of the All-In Cincinnati Coalition, says she will focus on the power of purpose, the power of love and the power of justice.

"We need people who are going to advocate for policy and system changes to be done in Hamilton County and Cincinnati," she says. "And I believe we can do it. My message is going to be about hope, all the roles and the parts that we can play in this movement moving forward."

Porter's message is going to be sandwiched between songs. Jason Holmes is chorale director. He's keeping the day's theme in mind — "Reckoning with Chaos, Creating Community."

"The choir will be singing a piece arranged for us called 'Stardust' that talks about lifting up people who have lost their lives in racialized murders or tragedies,” he says.

The audience will join in on "Lift Every Voice," and "We Shall Overcome." In addition, 40 to 50 kids will be on stage performing.

The MLK Cincinnati program will be available online through January.

Racial Day of Healing takes place Tuesday

Cincinnati's third annual National Day of Racial Healing is Tuesday, Jan. 17, and will feature two nationally known activists.


The event is co-sponsored by All-In Cincinnati and the Center for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation at the University of Cincinnati. Porter says she's excited for the event to have an in-person element for the first time.

"It's an opportunity for people to actually meet in person and really talk about all these local efforts and how we can collaborate and move forward on our five priority areas of health, housing, education, economic mobility and justice," she said.

Virtual workshops begin at 10 a.m. and feature topics like growing wealth in the Black community, discrimination in health care, and a potential pilot for a guaranteed income program in Cincinnati.

Angela Davis will give a virtual keynote in the afternoon. Davis was an active member of the Black Panther Party and has written and taught about racism, justice and prison reform for more than four decades.

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman will give an in-person keynote in the evening. She co-founded a nonprofit aimed at increasing the number of Black women working in economics, data science, and public policy.

Registration is free at

More MLK Day events

All of the below events take place Monday, Jan. 16:

  • From 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Hoxworth is hosting its annual MLK Day Blood Drive at various locations.
  • Beginning at 11 a.m., Miami University invites the community to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a celebration in the John Dolibois Rooms of the Shriver Center, 701 E. Spring St., featuring Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, former president of the League of Women Voters of the United States.
  • Great Parks will honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a community service project in partnership with the Roselawn Beautification Committee to beautify the area around the Great Parks Nature Center at The Summit, 1580 Summit Rd., at noon.
  • At 1 p.m., the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Lebanon is hosting an MLK celebration featuring musical performances and a keynote from Tia Ramey.
  • Cincinnati Cares has a list of opportunities to participate in this day of service.
Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.
Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.