MLK Day King Center Celebration: Theme, key events, special guests for 37th King Holiday Observance

MONTGOMERY, AL - MARCH 25: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking before crowd of 25,000 Selma To Montgomery, Alabama civil rights marchers, in front of Montgomery, Alabama state capital building. On March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Ste

The King Center announced plans to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with its week-long 37th King Holiday Observance

Atlanta is known as the home of prolific civil rights icon and the annual event features discussions and events for adults and kids the entire week leading up to the official holiday on Jan. 17. 

The finale on Martin Luther King Jr. Day features a commemorative service and rally downtown, broadcast live by FOX 5 Atlanta

Here's everything you need to know to participate in this year's event:

When and where is the King Holiday Observance?

The observance begins Jan. 10 and continues through Jan. 17. This year's observance is centered around several mostly virtual events. 

Most events are between 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET will be streamed live at or on the organization's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube page.

There's an in-person rally and march on Jan. 17 in Downtown Atlanta

What is the theme of the King Center MLK Day Observance?

The theme of this year's observance is, "It Starts with Me: Shifting Priorities to Create the Beloved Community." 

King Center CEO Dr. Bernice A. King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s youngest daughter, called it critical to the survival of humanity and planet Earth to prioritize equity. 

"It is a necessary, multi-faceted shift that includes shifting our values to align with a revolution of values; shifting our mindset to understand that we are interconnected, interrelated and interdependent and to engage each other and Earth accordingly; and shifting our society from being "thing"-oriented to being "person"-oriented, which will cause us to engage technology with moral responsibility, so that advancing the artificial is not prioritized over the well-being of the authentic," Dr. Bernice A. King wrote in a statement. "I have deep faith that, if we shift priorities in the ways that my father described in ‘The World House’ chapter of his last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, we can create this Beloved Community across the globe and ensure that people have the freedom to participate in government; freedom to prosper in life; and freedom to peacefully co-exist in Community. It starts with me. It starts with each of us."

Who are the guests at the King Center MLK event?

Several guest speakers and panelists headline the 2022 observance. 

The King Center's Beloved Community Global Summit will feature the following panelists: 

  • Cliff Albright, Co-Founder, Black Voters Matter;
  • Ari Berman, senior reporter at Mother Jones;
  • Michael Tubbs, author, former mayor of Stockton, California and author of "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America";
  • Lin-Manual Miranda, actor, songwriter, singer, playwright, producer and director;
  • Audra McDonald, actress and singer

Several people and organizations will be recognized at this year's awards gala:

  • Salesforce, Salute to Greatness Corporate Social Impact Award;
  • Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND Snacks, Salute to Greatness Humanitarian honoree;
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, pastor, activist, author, and civil rights leader, Beloved Community Civic Leadership honoree;
  • Color of Change, Beloved Community Social Justice honoree
  • Malala Yousafzai, co-founder of Malala Fund., Coretta Scott King Soul of the Nation honoree;
  • Simone Biles, world’s most decorated gymnast, Yolanda D. King Higher Ground honoree;
  • Usher’s New Look Foundation, Beloved Community Youth Influencer honoree;
  • Dr. Joy Boulamwini, founder of The Algorithmic Justice League, Beloved Community Technological Innovation honoree
  • Cami Anderson, founder and CEO of Thirdway Solutions, Christine King Farris "Legacy of Service in Education" honoree

The award ceremony is hosted by actor Lamman Rucker and MIchelle Williams of Destiny's Child. There will be musical performances by singers, Kameron Corvet, Luke Whitney, Keke Wyatt, and violinist, Ken Ford.

Several public figures will provide remarks during the Jan. 17 commemorative service, including:

  • Bruce Curry, Keynote speaker
  • Rev. Sen. Raphael Warnock
  • Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Director Marcia L. Fudge
  • Rose Wing, former Cobb GOP Chair, former National Federation of Republican Women Officer
  • 2021 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maria Ressa

Dr. Jill Biden will be in attendance for the ceremonies, according to the King Center. Further information about the First Lady's participation is forthcoming.

What are this year's events?

Nonviolence365 virtual series

The first event is a two-day Nonviolence365 virtual series from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 10 and 11 titled "Keys to Creating a Culture Shift That Sticks." 

Registration is $129 for the series and is available online.

The series will connect how Dr. Martin Luther King's six principles and steps of nonviolence can create a cultural shift. 

Beloved Community Global Summit

The event is followed by the 2nd Annual Beloved Community Global Summit on Jan. 13 and 14. The virtual event is free, but viewers are encouraged to register online.

The Jan. 13 general session is between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and the Jan. 14 session is between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The panel includes several notable guests, who will have conversations about how to address social justice and societal challenges and shift priorities. It will stream live on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and

There is a youth summit for middle and high school students from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 14. It's led by a panel of youth activists and explores how kids and teens can influence each other, their peers and families to promote equity. 

Beloved Community Youth Book Reading

Dr. Bernice A. King and Kimberly P. Johnson will read their book "It Starts with ME!" along with Meeka the Bunny from the Center for Puppetry Arts on Jan. 15 at 10 a.m.. The focus is on teaching children how to allow love to drive their behavior.

Visit for registration information.

Beloved Community Awards

The gala recognizing exemplary social justice leaders and organizations will be virtual this year, streaming at 7:30 p.m. on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and at

Flame of Hope Ceremony

The free public prayer for peace will be from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Jan. 16 in front of the Eternal Flame at The King Center.

Masks are required at the event. 

Beloved Community Commemorative Service

The headline commemorative service will broadcast live on FOX 5 Atlanta from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 17. 

The event includes remarks and greetings from public figures in Atlanta and Georgia as well as activists and leaders of organizations that prioritize social justice. 

The service will also include a critical conversation titled, "Faith and Reconciliation." There will be several musical performances. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday March and Rally

Marchers will assemble at 1:30 p.m. for a 1:45 p.m. march at Baker and Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. 

Interested participants must register at for a street assignment.

How old would Dr. Martin Luther King be in 2022?

The civil rights icon's 93rd birthday is Jan. 15, 2022. 

When did Dr. Martin Luther King receive the Nobel Peace Prize?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was 35 years old when he became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. 

When did Dr. Martin Luther King deliver his famous ‘I Have a Dream' speech?

King delivered that speech during the March on Washington in 1963. 

The march was organized in support of the Civil Rights Act, which made segregation, "Jim Crow Laws" and discrimination based on race, religion, gender or nationality illegal. 

When was Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated?

King died on April 4th, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, when he was shot at the Lorraine Motel. 

King's funeral was held in his hometown of Atlanta. 

The King family has asserted the civil rights leader's assassination was part of a conspiracy involving the federal government and organized crime. A committee determined James Earl Ray was the assassin of Dr. King.