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Marking MLK Day 2021 in a virtual way

University of Rochester/SEIU Local 1199

The official Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is Monday, January 18, as the legacy of the civil rights leader is marked in several events around the Rochester area.

But due to the coronavirus pandemic, many activities this year are being held virtually.

They include the celebration that would normally be held at the Eastman Theatre by the Greater Rochester Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. That celebration will now be held onlineand  the theme is, "No Lie Can Live Forever...The Truth is Marching On!" The keynote speaker is Reverend Mark Thompson, MSNBC commentator and political analyst. It starts at 9:00 a.m. on Monday.

The 1199 local of the SEIUwill continue a 40-year tradition organized by the union service workers of the Strong Memorial Hospital division of the University of Rochester Medical Center. That virtual event starts at 11:00 a.m., and the keynote speaker is local Assemblyman Demond Meeks.

Also at 11:00 a.m. Monday, an event hosted by Rochester Regional Health Careers, Avery August, is the keynote speaker. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and Professor of Immunology, Vice President for Academic Affairs and a Presidential Advisor on Diversity and Equity at Cornell University.

RIT has a virtual event at 11:00 a.m. as well, “Let Freedom Ring Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” featuring keynote speaker Joshua Rashaad McFadden, Assistant Professor in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences in RIT's College of Art and Design.

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And on Monday evening, throughout Rochester’s 19th Ward, the “Light up the Night” eventruns from 6pm-8pm. It’s organized by the 19th Ward Community Association which says that due to COVID-19 it will be a modified celebration where they encourage neighbors to put out luminaries and connect with each other virtually.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.