I’ve long wished our country had a designated “Diversity Day,” set aside to celebrate the diversity of our citizens. For many, that’s a big part of what MLK Day is all about. Folks eager to honor the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the increased appreciation of diversity fostered by the civil rights movement have several options — including these Arizona events with an arts and culture twist…
“MLK Youth Art Exhibit” through Feb. 5 at the Arizona State Capitol (executive tower lobby) in Phoenix. Features artwork with civil rights-related themes created by students in the Phoenix Elementary School District. Free.
“MLK Poster and Essay Contest Exhibit” Jan. 18-31 at the ASU Memorial Union on the Tempe campus and the Student Union on the Polytechnic campus. Features artwork and essays created by students throughout Arizona. (Artwork is also exhibited online). Free.
“Chandler Multicultural Festival” Sat., Jan. 14 from 11am-4pm at the Downtown Library plaza. Features performance by Ballet Folklorico, ChandlerCentennial Choir, North Indian/Afghan Trio, Ken Koshio Taiko Drummer, Machino Highland Dancers and more. Also arts & crafts — and Lisa’s Creatures (an interactive wildlife program featuring animals from all over the world). Free admission.
“Martin Luther King Jr. Festival” Mon., Jan. 16 from noon-5pm at the Mesa Arts Center. Features music, dance, children’s activities and more. Free outdoor admission. Additional entertainment inside the MAC.
“Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” Thurs., Jan 19 at 6pm at Mesa Arts Center. Features a “Community Cinema” screening of the Sharon La Cruise film about the woman “who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.” Free.
“A Legacy of Honor, Valor and Pride: A Tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen” Sat., Jan. 14 at 2pm at the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa. The Tuskegee Airmen were America’s first all-black aerial unit. Special event honors fourteen Tuskegee Airmen (five of whom are now deceased). Features a presentation about the history of the Tuskagee Airmen, special guest appearances and a keynote address by Major General Marcia Anderson (the highest-ranked woman of color in the U.S. Army). Also screening of a special edition of Lucasfilm’s “Double Victory,” a documentary about the Tuskagee Airmen (Lucas’ film titled “Red Tails” opens in theaters Jan. 20). $25.
“A Song for Coretta” performed Jan.13-22 by Black Theatre Troupe at Playhouse on the Park inside Viad Tower in Phoenix. The play imagines five women paying their respects to the late Mrs. Coretta Scott King while she lies in state at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Tickets $33.50.
For information on additional MLK Day celebrations, visit www.azmlk.org.
Note: Click here to learn more about the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, here to learn more about the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and here to learn more about “The Mountaintop” being performed on Broadway through Jan.22.
Coming up: Exploring the Underground Railroad