Take Kids, Volunteer at Free MLK Birthday Party
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com/Michele Paccione
During the first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Party six years ago, my then 2-year-old and 4-year old sons kept asking, “Where is he?” When I asked, “Who?” they declared, “Martin, of course!” They could not understand why someone would miss their own birthday party and were confused when we started singing “Happy Birthday” to someone who was not there.
That confusion launched a discussion that we are continuing six years later. I remain grateful to that event for paving the way for me to begin having a difficult discussion with my children around both the civil rights era and continuing racial injustice. Although the boys’ questions have become more sophisticated, such as “Wait — does this mean that if I was alive back then, I would not have been able to ride on the same bus with my best friend?” they are no easier to answer. That is why I appreciate attending this event every year, which makes the civil rights movement and Dr. King’s spirit come alive for children at every stage of their development.
This birthday party is a win-win for families. Parents get to do something meaningful to honor Dr. King while also contributing food/clothing to local families in need. Children get to learn about Dr. King’s legacy in a fun and interactive way while also enjoying birthday cake, crafts and story time and — who am I kidding — the parents enjoy the cake, too!
This popular, family-friendly, free event draws on average about 2,000 participants each year, spread throughout Northgate Mall. There is something here for all ages. From a photo exhibit documenting Dr. King’s visit to Durham to an African fashion show performance, from the stories to be shared by Sen. Floyd B. McKissick Jr. about growing up as a child at the heart of Durham’s Civil Rights Movement to English/Spanish story times, from kids’ Zumba to a community service project, all comers will be able to celebrate MLK Day in a way that feels right to them.
Here are the details:
What: A kid-friendly birthday party for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In continuing Dr. King’s commitment to service, participants are asked to donate nonperishable food (especially peanut butter, canned meat, cereal and corn), gently used children’s winter clothing and coats, or new underwear/ socks for local families in need served by Urban Ministries of Durham. Voter registration and information will also be available.
When: The party will take place on MLK Day, Monday, Jan. 18. The party will start at 10:30 and culminate at 1 p.m. with the singing of Happy Birthday to Dr. King and the sharing of cake.
Where: Northgate Mall’s Center Court. Northgate Mall is located at 1058 West Club Blvd. in Durham.
Sponsors: This event is sponsored by MomsRising.org, Northgate Mall, Lango Kids RTP, Durham Community Martin Luther King, Jr. Steering Committee, Mama Afrika, Action NC, Durham Mothers Club, Durham Chapter of Mocha Moms Inc., Chapel Hill/ Carrboro Mothers Club, Kidpower NC, Durham County Library, AB Fitness, Men of Honor, Kids Voting Durham, El Centro Hispano, Moore Muzik, El Pueblo, Si A Las Licencias NC, SoDu Parents Posse, BUMP the Triangle.
Volunteers are needed. Please let us know if you can help or if you have questions by contacting Beth@momsrising.org.
Jessica is a Durham mother of two and a member of MomsRising.org.
Discover more events honoring Martin Luther King Jr.