25th Annual MLK Celebration to Highlight Racial and Environmental Justice, Honor Local Visionaries

Chris Renton | Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Wikimedia Commons

The Yale Peabody Museum’s 25th Annual MLK celebration presents a line-up of exciting, virtual events, January 14-18, generously sponsored by Citizens™.

Alongside new and longstanding community partners, the Peabody is marking this anniversary with a focus on pressing issues of racial and environmental justice while also honoring the legacies of Dr. King and the visionary local leaders who have stewarded this event for a quarter of a century.

The Peabody joins the CT Department of Energy and the Environment, New Haven Museum, Students for Educational Justice, and the Yale Schwarzman Center to offer a slate of programs that testify to the art of storytelling as a form of resistance, the importance of remembrance, and the liberating power of imagining new futures together.

The Yale Peabody Museum has extended its reach and re-imagined the event as a digital festival with an array of free events accessible to participants of all ages. On Sunday evening, households across Connecticut, the region, and the country will be treated to an Open Mic and Poetry Jam featuring award-winning, internationally recognized artists.   

The events will take place on Zoom with live English captioning. The Peabody will also simulcast programs on its YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Programs currently scheduled for January 14 - 18

Thursday, January 14

5:30 pm - 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy of Social and Environmental Justice Welcome! 

A founders’ welcome followed by a roundtable discussion focused on climate justice, racial equity, arts in movement building, and Afrofuturism.

Friday, January 15

1:00 pm - Birds in Your Backyard! A Collections Tour of Winter CT Birds  

Join Kristof Zyskowski, Vertebrate Zoology Collections Manager, and Thomas Parlapiano, Public Education Manager, on a rare, behind-the-scenes collection tour to learn about native birds that can be seen right now in local parks and backyards.  

Sunday, January 17

6:00 pm - MLK Poetry Jam  

Ngoma Hall and Croilot Semexan host an evening of poetry and spoken word performances. This year’s program honors the program’s founder Zanette Lewis and features a line-up of world-renowned poets.

6:00 pm - Open Mic

7:00 pm - Tribute & Featured Poets

Taalam Acey, Roger Bonair-Agard, Lyvonne Proverbs Briggs, Jessica Care Moore, Aaron Jafferis, and Sunni Patterson

Monday, January 18

10:00 am to 1:00 pm  - Family Programs hosted by the New Haven Museum


Storytellers Clifton Graves, Joy Donaldson, Waltrina Kirkland-Mullins, and Dr. Robbie Thomas contribute their gifts to the event’s long-standing tradition of celebrating Dr. King through stories and song.

Recollection Connections

The Artsucation™ Academy Network will present a performance of the past, present, and future legacies of our social justice warriors featuring New Haven's Neighborhood Music School's Premiere Dance Company, Keepers of the Culture Performing Arts Company, and the M'Bosse Dance Company of Senegal. Choreographed and directed by Ms. Hanan Hameen. 

11:00 am - Social Injustices: Black Librarians as Change Agents 

Hosted by the Black Caucus American Library Association – CT Chapter. A conversation about Dr. King’s legacy and the role of Black librarians in fighting social injustice. 

1:00 pm - A Youth Roundtable: The Future of Organizing Work

Hosted by Students for Educational Justice. Local youth organizers gather to discuss Dr. King’s legacy and the future of organizing. The conversation will be moderated by Benie N’sumbu and feature Adrian Huq, Sebastian Ward, Jamila, Mellody Massaquoi, and Julie Hajducky. *Pre-Registration required.

Yale Schwarzman Center is pleased to be a partner in The Yale Peabody Museum’s 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice, generously sponsored by Citizens™.