By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 18, 2021 at 8:16 AM

Don’t let the pandemic stop you and the family celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year – Monday, Jan. 18 – as King’s message is as important as ever.

Here are some virtual events in which you can take part from in front of your computer screen in this challenging moment...

Milwaukee Public Library

As usual, the Milwaukee Public Library hosts a slate of events, including guest speakers Daphne-Barbee-Wooten and Terrance Roberts, and artist Charly Palmer, as part of its virtual programming on Monday, Jan. 18, beginning at noon.

There is also a daily youth trivia challenge that began on Jan. 1, as well as a video challenge that began on Jan. 11.

In addition, MPL has many resources, including book lists, to help explore the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

You can also stop by MPL branches to pickup a King Day Kit with coloring sheets, booklists and more.

Find details on the event, the book lists and more here.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

The Marcus Center also continues its annual celebration of Dr. King’s birthday – one of the country's longest-running – this year with a streaming program that begins at 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 17.

This year, Milwaukee young people participated in programming – themed "Keep Moving Forward" – that interpreted Dr. King’s works through art, speech and writing contests.

The celebration will include music, dance and song from The United Indians of Milwaukee Youth Dancers, Hmong American Friendship Association, Water Street Dance, Christopher Gilbert and B-Free.

The event is free (no reservations required) and open to all and takes place at marcuscenter.org/mlk. At the same link you can find curricula and other resources.

Bus shelterX

Part of this year’s celebration was a student art contest open to K-12 students in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and West Bend public schools. Two Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) bus shelters have now been decorated with murals created from a combination of the winning artworks.

One of the shelters is located across the street from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School at King Drive and Concordia Avenue, and the other is outside Golda Meir School Upper Campus at King Drive and Pleasant Street.

The murals are composites of work created by students at Fairview Elementary School, Fernwood Montessori, Golda Meir School, Luther Burbank School, McLane Elementary School, Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School, Roosevelt Creative Arts Middle School, Wauwatosa East High School, Wedgewood Park International School and West Bend West High School.

“We’re looking forward to highlighting young people in our community who interpret Dr. King’s words and actions through art, speech and writing,” said Marcus Center President and CEO Kendra Whitlock Ingram, in a statement.

“Showcasing winning artwork on bus shelters along MLK Drive is a creative way to make sure these important messages are seen by a wide audience.”

The mural installation is the latest in a series of artworks displayed on bus shelters as part of the MCTS Bus Shelter Art Project.

MLK Day Kid’s Summit

As part of an annual salute to Dr. King, this year i.c. stars hosts The Declaration of Kids’ Summit on Monday, Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. until noon that seeks to amplify children’s voices and help create future leaders.

There will be interactive sessions for kids and parents on social justice, global climate and racial equality, as well as on harnessing the power of technology to create social change.

Register and find full details here.

All-ages MLK Virtual National Day of Service Event

Kids Impact Community hosts a virtual all-ages celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an a story time with music and movement, and an on-the-spot service project and community art activity.

The event – Monday, Jan. 18, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. – is free with a dry goods donation to Food is Free MKE.

A special guest will read “Let’s Talk About Race” by Julius Lester and The Second City professional actor and teaching artist Lachrissa Grandberry will lead kids through music and movement breaks.

According to a statement, “On this National Day of Service, we will engage our children as dynamic and change-making citizens in an on-the-spot pantry raid following the reading of ‘Maddie’s Fridge’ and a thoughtful chat about food insecurity. All pantry raid food items will be donated to Food is Free MKE.

"Drop off your donations at designated locations throughout the week or directly at Food is Free MKE the following Saturday.”

The event will wrap up with a community art activity. Art Kit pick-up instructions will be provided following registration.

Details and registration here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.