City and UToledo to Host MLK Day Celebrations

Erin Baker, Chair of the City of Toledo Human Relations Commission

By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter

The City of Toledo held a press conference on January 4 to announce this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations. The events, which will span four days this year from January 12- Jan 15, will feature thought provoking and impactful events, keynote speakers and engaging community activities. During the announcement, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz presented Toledo native and fashion designer Darryl Brown, founder and creative director of Midwest Kids Inc. and Darryl Brown LLC a Key to the City of Toledo.

The City of Toledo, University of Toledo, and Human Relations Commission of Toledo are collaborating this year to bring the 2024 MLK Experience and Unity Day Celebration Programming. This celebration will be the 23rd annual Unity Day. The theme this year is “I AM the Dream.”

The press conference Thursday featured Mayor Kapszukiewicz; Dr. Gregory Postel, University of Toledo president; Erin Baker, Chair, Human Relations Commission, and Malaika Bell, director of UT’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Mayor Kapszukiewicz presented the Key to the City to Toledo native and 2004 Rogers High School graduate Brown in recognition for his outstanding achievements in the fashion and entertainment industries. Brown will also be a featured speaker for the upcoming event.

The 2024 MLK Weekend Experience programs:

Friday January 12, 2024 – Kick-off Open Mic at Poetry Night at Lucille’s Jazz Lounge

The theme is Celebrating 50 Years of Hip Hop. The doors open at 7:15 p.m. and performances will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are available in the range of $10 to $32, providing an opportunity for everyone to participate in the celebration of poetry and spoken word. It promises to be a night filled with inspiration and cultural resonance, setting the tone for a weekend dedicated to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

Saturday, January 13, 2024 – The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s 32nd Annual MLK Scholarship Breakfast.

Join the community in commemorating the achievements of our College Scholarship Awardees in an event dedicated to fostering education and community support. Attendees are encouraged to get their tickets early because space will be limited.

Darryl Brown, Founder and Creative Director of Midwest Kids Inc., and Darryl Brown LLC.

Sunday, January 14, 2024 – Rest, Rejoice, and Restoration
This a day for Rest, Rejoicing, and Restoration at the place of your choosing.

Monday, January 15, 2024 – MLK Unity Day (Virtual) hosted by Alexis Means and presented by the Human Relations Commission and the University of Toledo.  

The event will be virtual from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and streamed on the City of Toledo’s Facebook page, BCAN, and the University of Toledo’s website and at the Human Relations Commission page featuring influential guest speakers and local performers.

The keynote speaker Rosa Alicia Clemente, an influential organizer, independent journalist, producer, and scholar activist, will highlight the event. Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Clemente is renowned for her activism and advocacy in the Black-Latinx community. She is the first Afro-Latina woman to run for vice president in 2008.

In addition, the discussion on “I AM the Dream” promises to be a highlight, inspiring reflection and engagement at the Unity Day Celebration.

Other speakers include:

  • Gregory Postel, President of the University of Toledo
  • Mayor Wade Kapzukiewicz
  • Marcy Kaptur
  • Sherrod Brown
  • Gabrielle Mukiira, Kid Mayor
  • Malaika Bell, Director UT’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Erin Baker, Chair of the City of Toledo Human Relations Commission

Special Performances by:

  • Alexis Means + Toledo Opera
  • Hip Hop Poetry Cypher
  • JP Dynasty
  • Tahyah Dance Studio
  • Friendship/UT Choir
  • My5tery Music Band
  • Nikki D and The Browns

For more information or to buy tickets visit:

Monday, January 15, the Toledo Museum of Art will open its doors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as a gathering place to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Attendees can come and enjoy a full day of free programs and artwork that celebrate Black artists and culture including Silent Hip Hop to celebrate the MLK Experience.