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Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations and Events in Madison

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations and Events in Madison

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

2023 Madison & Dane County MLK Day Observance 

The 38th Annual City-County observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday will mark its return to an in-person event featuring Donzaleigh Abernathy as the keynote speaker. Abernathy is the Daughter of Rev. Abernathy and Goddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is an award-winning actress and writer. This year’s observance will also feature American Family Insurance President Telisa Yancy as the MC.  

The City-County Observance will take place on Monday, January 16, at the Overture Center for the Arts in the Capitol Theater. The observance will include a freedom songs sing-in from 5:15-5:45 p.m. followed by the program at 6-7:30 p.m. The Observance will feature presentation of the Madison-Dane County Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awards by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Mayor of Madison Satya Rhodes-Conway. Noted musicians Leotha and Tamera Stanley lead the MLK Community Choir. It will also be broadcast live on Madison CityChannel and WORT FM. More information will be posted at Please check for ongoing updates.

Events Commemorating the King Holiday

  • The MLK COMMUNITY DINNER which normally kicks-off the King Holiday weekend has been cancelled this year due to ongoing health and safety precautions. However, the King Coalition is pleased to support the partnership between Feeding The Youth and Little John’s to distribute free community meals to those in need. More details will be announced soon and posted at  
  • MLK ECUMENICAL SERVICE, SUNDAY, JANUARY 15: An Ecumenical Worship Service will be held at 4:30 p.m. at First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison.   
  • MLK YOUTH CALL TO SERVICE, MONDAY, JANUARY 16: The King Coalition, in partnership with the City of Madison, Dane County, MSCR, Madison Out of School Time (MOST), Madison Public Library, the Urban League and many others, invite middle school youth to participate at the Madison Central Library (11:45 a.m.-4:45 p.m.) as we explore service and activism in Dr. King’s memory. Lunch is provided. There is no cost to participate, but registration is required. For more information, please contact Andrew Schilcher at
  • MLK COMMUNITY CHOIR: The MLK Community Choir will again be led by noted local musicians Leotha and Tamera Stanley. The Choir will perform at the City-County MLK Day Observance. The Choir is open to all community members wishing to participate. Interested participants must attend rehearsals on Tuesday, January 10 at 6:30 p.m. & Saturday 14 at 11 a.m. Both rehearsals will be held at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2029 Fisher Street, Madison, WI 53713. 
  • 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. College Readiness and Success Summit: In its 4th year, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. College Readiness and Success Summit is designed to help high school students and families understand the college process and college experience. Event Info
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute & Ceremony, Capitol Rotunda in Madison on Jan. 16 at noon: Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., produced and directed by WPR’s Dr. Jonathan Øverby, the 42nd Annual Tribute and Ceremony is the official state ceremony and the oldest official MLK Day state celebration in the U.S. This year’s theme is Let Justice Rule. The live event in Madison is free and open to all.

"I Have a Dream" Ball

Women in Focus is thrilled to host the 2023 "I Have a Dream" Ball IN PERSON at the Monona Terrace on January 14, 2023, from 6 to 11 p.m. Tickets will be available for purchase starting December 1, 2022. Our Third Annual On-line Auction will open on January 7, 2023 and will close on January 14 at 9:30 p.m. All proceeds from the Dream Ball and the Auction will fund the 2023 WIF College Scholarships for Dane County students of color. This is our 37th Annual Ball, and WIF has given out 397 scholarships totaling over $500,000 since 1986! Help us grow the 2023 WIF Scholarship fund by attending the Ball, sponsoring the Ball, bidding at the Auction and/or donating any amount!

WIF Auction Opens Saturday 1/7/23!

Please Browse and Bid!! All proceeds fund 2023 WIF College Scholarships for Dane County students of color!