BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Whether it’s today, tomorrow or throughout the year, you’ve got options to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Western New York.
"Dr. King really gave us a template for how we can as a community, as a society, as a world to operate in hearing and understanding each other," said Rene Petties-Jones, President of National Federation For Just Communities of WNY, Inc.
"What are his teachings, what is it that we can learn from history to move ourselves as a country and as a region, a WNY region, ahead?” asked Petties-Jones.
You can hit the ground running starting on MLK day on the streets of Buffalo. The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor will host a cleanup from 8:45am to 10am in Buffalo.
MLK Day of Caring began last year when the Biden Inaugural Committee organized thousands of volunteers across the country to do community service projects in hopes of reaching 1 million volunteer hours in one day.
Instructions and cleaning supplies will be given out upon arrival. They ask that you wear a mask and pre-register for the MLK Day of Caring Community Cleanup, click here.
Tomorrow is about continuing the conversation.
"We need to hear each other, we need to talk with each other and we need to do this more respectfully," said Petties-Jones.
The NFJC of WNY will have local leaders share messages of hope and inspiration for the National Day of Racial Healing on January 18. That leads to a bigger, national discussion all taking place virtually.
But beyond this holiday and this week the effort is ongoing.
"Speak up. Speak out. We have a voice in this society," said Deidra Emel, the new Executive Director at the WNY Peace Center which started in 1967 because of a direct call from Dr. King.
"And we’ve been at it for 54 years," said Emel.
Advocating for voting rights, protesting wars and fighting against violence. She says you can help them by educating yourself and coming together.
"To see what group, established organizations, you can be a part of because there is power in numbers," said Emel.
Whether you’re advocating, taking to the streets of buffalo, or continuing the conversation.
"We have to have a mindset of love and being equitable in everything that we do," said Emel.
Another event will take place on Sunday, January 16 at Kleinhan's Muisc Hall to celebrate Dr. King, it's free and starts at 6pm with performances and speakers to enjoy.
Community leaders urge you to make change in your community and commemorate this holiday.