Martin Luther King Jr. Day is recognized as a day of service — a day on, not a day off. If you’re looking for places to volunteer your time, EngageAR – the Arkansas state agency for volunteerism and AmeriCorps — has a list of volunteer opportunities here.
Below is a list of MLK events happening around Arkansas. Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, some events may pivot to virtual or be cancelled, so please check with organizers closer to their event date for their decisions. If you want your event added to this list, send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 a.m. — St. James Missionary Baptist Food Drive
The Northwest Arkansas MLK Council is co-sponsoring a food drive with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville. Donations will be accepted through Jan. 14 and items can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays.
10 a.m. — Restoration of Daisy Bates’ Home
Mother Annie Abrams is the keynote speaker for the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission’s 2022 King Week Kickoff and Awards Ceremony. The commission will honor community leaders and host tours and renovations of Daisy Bates’ historic home, which served as a meeting place for the Little Rock Nine and several Civil Rights icons. This is an outdoor event.
For one week, AmeriCorps Mobile Team members will travel to 20 different communities across central Arkansas where they will read Rebecca J. Jackson’s Different is Good to children and engage them in a rock painting project where they will be able to express themselves creatively and ask questions about racial equity.
All Day — UAFS School Supply Drive
A school supply drive benefiting regional students will be held throughout the week in honor of Dr. King’s commitment to education. Collection boxes will be in the Campus Center on University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus.
All Day — UAFS MLK Display
A collection of books and selected writings about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be displayed at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Boreham Library.
The 2022 MLK Our Beloved Community Virtual Pen Pals Initiative is designed to promote culture, diversity and cross-cultural connections amongst participants from Batesville, Little Rock and Harrison. Participants of diverse ages and backgrounds will come together to discuss project outcomes in this virtual conference, which will be shared on the Arkansas MLK Commission’s social media channels.
Oscar Award-winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr. will speak at this event at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. The Arkansas MLK Commission will outline its plan through its 2022 youth summits to address the violence in the state. Admission is free to the event, which will feature a press conference and a meet and greet.
All Day — UAFS Peanut Butter Drive
A peanut butter drive will be held with collection boxes at the Stubblefield Center entrance and in the Campus Center on the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus. Jars collected will benefit the River Valley Regional Food Bank.
The free summit at Batesville High School will feature commemorative presentations from Batesville youth and Emmy Award-winning actor Eric Braeden will serve as the keynote speaker.
9 a.m. — MLK Prayer Breakfast 2022
Rep. Jamie Scott is the guest speaker at this event that begins at 9 a.m. in room 205 of the Ronnie Williams Student Center on the University of Central Arkansas campus. Face coverings will be required and a to-go breakfast meal will be distributed immediately after the program. RSVP by Jan. 12 by sending an email to email@example.com.
Emmy-award winning actor Eric Braeden will be the keynote speaker at this event at Harrison High School. Youth will provide commemorative presentations at the event, which is free and open to the public.
Hosted by the Northwest Arkansas MLK Council, this event will be held at the Faulkner Performing Arts Center on the University of Arkansas campus. Cedric Clark, Vice President, Regional General Manager (South Central Region) at Sam’s Club, will be the featured speaker. Tickets are required to view the event virtually.
2:30 p.m. — El Dorado MLK Parade
Sponsored by the Self Culture Club, the annual MLK Parade will start at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium and proceed through town.
3 p.m. — MLK Memorial Service (Virtual)
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the NWA MLK Council are hosting the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Service. The featured speaker is Joe Daniels, III, director of sustainability at Walmart. The service, which is free and open to the public, will be posted virtually.
6:30 p.m. — Ecumenical Service at St. James
An ecumenical service will take place at 6:30 p.m. at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Smith.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will serve as keynote speaker at the Arkansas MLK Commission’s annual breakfast. Attendance is by invitation only.
8 a.m. — Caravan of Love in Action
Arkansas Poor People’s campaign will host an inclusive, interfaith drive-thru prayer breakfast at MLK Elementary School in Little Rock.
The purpose of this event is to allow youth to come together in prayer and reflect on how Dr. King’s dream has impacted their lives. There will be several youth speakers discussing freedom, equality and justice for all. This event will be hosted via Zoom and is free and open to the public.
8 a.m. — UAFS annual MLK Breakfast
The free, public event begins at 8 a.m. at the Stubblefield Center on the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus. Fort Smith Mayor George McGill will moderate a panel discussion featuring representatives from the Community Clearing House, Literacy Council, Salvation Army and Crisis Stabilization Unit.
8 a.m. — Benton MLK Day Celebration
The celebration begins with breakfast at First Baptist Church of Benton followed by a service project. Volunteers should meet at Ralph Bunche Park at 10 a.m. The parade starts at 3 p.m. on S. Market Street and turns right onto W. North Street then right on S. Main Street.
9 a.m. — ASU-Newport Grab and Go Breakfast
Join ASU-Newport’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for a day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Each campus will host a beautification project, and grab-and-go breakfast will be provided.
9:30 a.m. — MLK Dream Keepers’ Youth Engagement Program
Sponsored by the NWA MLK Council and U of A Intercollegiate Athletes, this event will now be virtual. Updated details will be provided soon.
10 a.m. — MLK Marade 35: Always Fighting Forward
The Little Rock Branch NAACP will celebrate and honor the accomplishments, legacy and birthdate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by hosting the MLK Marade 35. The Marade will now be virtual in response to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and the recommendation to not meet in person from NAACP headquarters. You can watch the celebration virtually on Facebook or YouTube.
This annual event provides an opportunity for students ages 12-18 to come to Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and embrace the ideals and principles of Dr. King through service projects. This year’s MLK Challenge connects historical ideas around protest to contemporary voices in protest. The theme Building The Beloved Community will reflect on how community partnerships play a role in helping shape our understanding of leadership.
10 a.m. — Every Arkansan Service Project
Every Arkansan will host an event in partnership with the city of North Little Rock’s Community Garden program. AmeriCorps members will join together with garden staff to continue the racial healing Stones of Hope and Healing project. The groups invite community members to join at one of North Little Rock’s community gardens to continue dialogue about racial healing and plant the painted rocks.
10:30 a.m. — MLK Lonoke Love Parade
The parade starts at Center St. Park in Lonoke and residents can participate by decorating a love car or love float.
11 a.m. — Chicot Elementary MLK Day of Service
Celebrate MLK Day by learning about food justice and the importance of growing and eating locally. Attendees will get a seed planting kit to take home. Face masks are required and registered attendees will get lunch.
11 a.m. — Day of Impact
The Arkansas MLK Commission will host its annual Day of Impact at Catholic High School in Little Rock. Admission is free and the event includes free food, legal services, health screenings, hygiene kits, a car and bike show, mobile job fair and vaccination clinic.
11 a.m. — Sowing Seeds of Unity in the Community
North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education will host this event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Harrison. There will be student art and a performance of We Are the World by Michael Jackson, in addition to building a unity flower garden at Camp Jack — a local veteran organization. Bags filled with information on COVID-19, racial healing reflection and drug prevention tips will be handed out. Refreshments and hot dogs will be provided. Register for this event here.
11:15 a.m. — MLK Freedom March (Virtual)
Due to the increase in COVID-19 activity, the NWA MLK Council has decided to pivot to virtual events during its MLK celebration. The event will now be hosted via Zoom.
11:30 a.m. — Springdale’s 5th annual MLK Celebration
The day will begin at Luther Grove Park. The parade will proceed down Emma Avenue, ending at Springdale High School Performing Arts Center where there will be a Unity Celebration filled with love, food and friends.
This vigil honors the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose work in the Civil Rights movement inspires us today as we continue to demand equity, justice, and inclusion within the University of Arkansas and beyond. This year, the vigil will feature student and guest performances as well as a keynote speech by University of Arkansas interim chancellor Charles Robinson. Register for the Zoom webinar here.
The City of Fayetteville Environmental Action Committee and The New School are hosting a service project in the Fay Jones Woods portion of the Lower Ramble Park. Volunteers will pull and cut invasive shrubs and vines from the woods. Tools and training will be provided. Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes and clothes they don’t mind getting dirty.
Community Service, Inc. AmeriCorps Tutoring and Mentoring program invites you to join them for an afternoon filled with fun, learning and service at the University of the Ozarks campus in Clarksville. A screening of The Little Rock Nine documentary will be followed by rock painting.
3 p.m. — Day of Service Unity March
The Arkansas MLK Commission is hosting a Peace March from Philander Smith College to Little Rock Central High School. The march lineup begins at 3 p.m. and participants can meet at the intersection of Dr. MLK Jr. Drive and Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive.
3 p.m. — A-State MLK Day Service Project
Volunteer A-State is hosting a service project at the Arkansas State University food pantry, which serves more than 100 families each month by providing weekly meals, hygiene products, clothing and more. If you would like to volunteer for this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5:30 p.m. — MLK Unity HBCU Basketball Game
The Arkansas MLK Commission has organized this game between Arkansas Baptist College and Philander Smith College at the Little Rock Central High School Coach Eddie Boone and Oliver Fitzpatrick Fieldhouse.
6:15 — ATU MLK Campus Memorial Walk
Join Arkansas Tech University on MLK Day as they celebrate and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Participants will walk from the Baz Tech Courtyard to the Ross Pendergraft Library steps followed by a short dedication.
4:30 p.m. — Racial Healing Poetry Workshop (Virtual)
This virtual racial healing poetry workshop features device and figurative language by nationally-recognized spoken word artist Leron McAdoo and 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Stacey McAdoo. The event will take place via Central Arkansas Library System’s Facebook, YouTube and Zoom accounts.
This virtual event will feature University of Central Arkansas faculty and staff panelists whose perspectives will ignite small-group dialogue on the topic of Revisiting Broken Systems. Participants will receive the Zoom link upon registration.
Hosted by CALS, Loria Eubanks will lead teens to paint canvases that spark racial healing. Grab and Go Kits will be available for pick up prior to the workshop. This event is designed for kids 8 to 16 years old.
In commemoration of MLK Day and the National Day of Racial Healing 2022, UCA Downtown will host make-and-take art journaling and button-making activities on the theme of racial healing through the arts, alongside a gallery exhibit on the Art of Words curated by Students for the Arts and SLANT.
6 p.m. — Beyond Washington
Oftentimes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is reduced to his iconic message from the I Have a Dream Speech, but he was so much more. This panel discussion and conversation explores King’s speeches after the March on Washington, focusing on his 1967 speech, The Other America. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will broadcast this event via Facebook Live.
10 a.m. — Growing Community: Day of Service
Hosted by the Central Arkansas Library System, this day of service will involve both the revitalization of the teaching garden for the new year as well as reflection and acknowledgment of race in our community and city. Masks will be required in the garden. Garden tools and gloves are available, but feel free to bring your own pitchforks and shovels.
Volunteers should meet at Martin Luther King Jr. Park to receive supplies and sign up for cleanup sites. Volunteers will need to provide their own transportation to clean up sites throughout the community.