The Arlington, Texas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration - 2020

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Download Arlington MLK Events Flyer.

6 p.m. Friday, January 17, 2020

MLK “ADVANCING THE DREAM” AWARDS BANQUET Meet our 2020 MLK Advancing the Dream Community Award Honorees and recipients, and essay, art and collegiate scholarship recipients. This event, held at UT-Arlington’s Bluebonnet Ballroom, also includes dinner, special tributes and musical performances with nationally known keynote speaker Dr. Yusef Salaam. Tickets: $65 and can be purchased at or at the UTA Box Office at 600 S. Center Street in Arlington.

About keynote speaker Dr. Yusef Salaam

Dr Yusef SalaamOn April 19, 1989, a young woman in the prime of her life was brutally raped and left for dead in New York City’s Central Park. Five boys—four black and one Latino—were tried and convicted of the crime in a frenzied case that rocked the city. They became known collectively as “The Central Park Five.”

Their convictions were vacated in 2002 after spending between seven and 13 years of their lives behind bars. The unidentified DNA in the Central Park Jogger case, unlinked to any of the five, had finally met its owner: a convicted murderer and serial rapist who confessed. The convictions of the boys, now men, were overturned and they were exonerated. One of those boys, Yusef Salaam, was just 15 years old when his life was upended and changed forever.

Since his release, Yusef has committed himself to advocating and educating people on the issues of false confessions, police brutality and misconduct, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in America’s criminal justice system. In 2013, documentarians Ken and Sarah Burns released the documentary “The Central Park Five,” which told of this travesty from the perspective of Yusef and his cohorts.
In 2014, The Central Park Five received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of New York for its grievous injustice against them. Yusef was awarded an Honorary Doctorate that same year and received the President's Life Time Achievement Award in 2016 from President Barack Obama.

He was appointed to the board of the Innocence Project in 2018, and has released a Netflix Feature limited series called “When They See Us” based on the true story of the “Central Park Five” with Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Dinero, in May of 2019.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, January 18, 2020

The MLK Advancing the Dream Step Show Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King with the best in elementary, junior high and high school stepping performances. Tickets: $10 at the door, $5 for elementary students and children under 5. Location: Bowie High School Auditorium, 2101 Highbank Drive in Arlington.

MLK Events

7 p.m. Saturday, January 18, 2020

Explore jazz and poetry through an evening of nostalgic jazz and inspiring poetry hosted by Verb Kulture with a musical performance by the Dave Whiteman Band.
Location: UT-Arlington’s Bluebonnet Ballroom, E. H. Hereford University Center, 300 W First St, Arlington TX 76010
Tickets available at

MLK Events

6 p.m. Sunday, January 19, 2020

DR. KING/HUBERT MOSS ECUMENICAL SERVICE For nearly three decades, this service continues to evoke the memories of two servants of the church. One served as a global leader for justice and peace and the other served his community. In this spirit of cooperation, this service is a shared ecumenical experience for all. Keynote speaker is Dr. Melvin Brown, lecturer for the National Baptist Congress and pastor of Greater New Hope Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Location: First Baptist Church of Arlington, 301 S. Center Street, Arlington, TX 76010
Free to attend

MLK Events

9 a.m. Monday, January 20, 2020

Zeb Strong, Jr. Day of Service - Make it a day on, not a day off! People of all ages from service organizations, schools, fraternities, sororities and churches work together to make a positive impact on the community around them. Volunteers gather at Mission Arlington/Mission Metroplex for tools, supplies and assignments. The first 500 volunteers will receive a FREE MLK commemorative t-shirt. Thank you!

MLK Events

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday, January 20, 2020

MLK DAY OF SERVICE FESTIVAL Join us for a celebration that includes Tarrant County College’s MLK Historical Timeline, entertainment with live performances and storytelling, food trucks, music and face painting. We will be joined by the MLK Art Contest winners and MLK Essay Contest winners. City Center Plaza – 100 S. Center Street, between Arlington City Hall and the George W. Hawkes Central Library. Free to attend.

4 p.m. Monday, January 20, 2020

MLK YOUTH MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA On the Dr. King holiday, hundreds of youth voices join together in song as the Arlington, Texas, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Choir. This youth musical extravaganza also features students in dancing, drumming and exciting performances from the winners of the MLK Advancing the Dream Step Competition. FREE Admission! Location: Metro Center, Fielder Church, 2011 S. Fielder Road