The 37th Annual BAM Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso as master of ceremony, will bring together artists, activists, local and national civic leaders, and community members to celebrate Dr. King’s life and mission, this year on Monday, January 16, 2023, at 10:30 am in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue). As in previous years, the event will salute Dr. King’s legacy in the spirit of the Justice work that defined the late dynamic faith leader.
Delivering the keynote address will be Civil Rights lawyer Sherilynn Ifill, former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who, in 2021, was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.
The event, which takes place throughout the BAM campus over the weekend prior, is free for all ages, open to the public, and accessible via Livestream; it also welcomes the new year with great music, performances, and an urgent and timely call to action—Defending Democracy, the subject of Attorney Ifill’s message.
BAM’s Vice President of Creative Social Impact, Coco Killingsworth, says the annual event continues a tradition that has evolved into the largest such gathering in New York City. “BAM has long been committed to creating spaces for activists, leaders, and artists to express themselves freely and giving audiences what they need. The annual MLK Tribute puts those needs into focus by bringing the community face-to-face with the civic leaders working on the issues that matter the most to them.
“The fact that this event continues to draw the biggest crowd on Martin Luther King Day in the city, year after year, shows Dr. King’s enduring significance in our society. So, we] gather to celebrate his life and discuss the serious work still at hand.”
Free events for community members of all ages will take place throughout the BAM campus over the weekend, including a complementary BAMkids program featuring music, dance, and craft activities throughout the day (16).
The Tribute features inspirational performances by Grammy-nominated performer Allison Russell and Vy Higginsen’s award-winning choir, Sing Harlem. The program will be shared as a video simulcast at 10:30 am at BAM.org. Additional participating civic leaders will be announced in January.