This Monday marks Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and there are plenty of ways to join in celebrations of his life all day in Austin. Walk alongside other Austinites in an annual march, join a rally at the Capitol, or listen to a lecture from award-winning author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Long Center.
As well as celebrating MLK's legacy, the Annual Community March uplifts diversity and multi-culturalism in Austin, inviting individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations to march together in remembrance.
Kicking off at 9 am on Monday, January 16, the MLK Community March includes a short program at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus. The march will then move to the south steps of the Capitol for a rally before proceeding to the historic Huston-Tillotson University, where the MLK Community Festival will take place.
Organizers of the march and rally are asking participants to donate canned goods or non-perishable food items, which will support the Central Texas Food Bank. These gifts also honor Dr. King's legacy, who said: “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
Donation receptacles will be available at The University of Texas and the Capitol while the march is in those locations. Receptacles will also be available at the MLK Community Festival at Huston-Tillotson University, which kicks off at 11:15 am and will last until 3:30 pm.
Capital Metro and The Austin Area Heritage Council are also offering participants a free Local Day pass to help spend more time celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy and less time finding parking. You can get your free MLK DAY CapMetro day pass here, and follow these instructions on how to use it.
Free parking for the march, rally, and festival are also available at the following locations:
- State’s Visitors Garage (12th & San Jacinto St.)
- Kealing Middle School (1607 Pennsylvania Ave.)
- Holy Cross Catholic Church (1610 E. 11th)
- Blackshear Elementary (1712 E. 11th)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church (1206 E. 9th)
- Mt. Olive Baptist Church (1800 E. 11th)
In the evening, head to the Long Center for a Conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates has written for numerous publications over the years, including The New Yorker, The New York Times,The Atlantic, and more. As a reporter for The Atlantic, he penned several award-winning pieces, including the National Magazine Award-winning 2012 essay "Fear of a Black President" and the influential June 2014 essay "The Case For Reparations."
Coates is also the author of bestselling books The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, The Water Dancer, and Between the World and Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015 — the same year he received a MacArthur Fellowship.
Coates will speak at the Long Center on Monday, January 16, from 7:30 pm, and a range of tickets (starting at $29.50) are still available here.