Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Join the City of Rockville for the 51st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. This free event features performances, awards, a keynote speaker, interactive booths and a continental breakfast (while supplies last).

Event Information

Monday, January 16, 2023
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Program begins at 10:30 a.m.
Richard Montgomery High School

Still have questions? Contact: 

SPECIAL EVENTS
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240-314-8620
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111 Maryland Ave.
Rockville, MD 20850

Martin Luther King Jr. Program

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Light Breakfast and Meet and Greet with Community Groups
10:30 a.m. Opening Performance by Soul In Motion
  Welcome by Unique Robinson
  Performance by Esi Abercrombie
  Remarks by the City of Rockville's Human Rights Commission 
  Remarks by Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton
  Keynote Speech by Sharon Jackson Wilder, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, Montgomery College
  Performance by Unique Robinson 
  Presentation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth and F. Michael Taff Awards
  Closing Performance by Soul In Motion 
12 - 12:30 p.m. Meet and Greet with Community Groups 

2023 Event Theme 

Boldly Imagining Our Future

Reflecting on the decades since the civil rights activism of the 20th century, we consider the work before us. Millennials and Gen Z have ushered us into a new era of disruption and activism for racial, economic, social, gender and disability justice. The next generation of activists is at the forefront of imagining and creating a more equitable, just and inclusive world.

Today’s theme challenges our community to achieve Dr. King’s dream through daring ingenuity in our communities. As Dr. King said, “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always right to do right.” Even as we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, oppressive systems continue to exclude and harm members of our community, including Black and Indigenous people, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, immigrants, low-income individuals and families, and our unhoused neighbors. These injustices are complex and far reaching, creating barrier after barrier for people pursuing their dreams. Today’s theme invites courage, creativity and curiosity. What lessons can we bring from the civil rights movement into the advocacy of today? How and why do our institutions continue to fail marginalized communities? How can we bravely and effectively reimagine our communities and our world to ensure a just and equitable society for everyone?

2023 Keynote Speaker

Sharon Jackson Wilder, JD, CPM
Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, Montgomery College

Sharon Jackson Wilder was appointed the inaugural chief equity and inclusion officer for Montgomery College in 2017. Sharon has been a nationally recognized scholar, practitioner and researcher in the diversity, equity and inclusion space for over 20 years. Before working in higher education, Sharon built diversity programs for private sector firms, served as a mayoral appointee in Washington, D.C., and practiced and taught employment, contract and civil rights law focusing on disability inclusion. These experiences, together with her local and national speaking and consulting experience, granted her a grounded understanding of the importance of crafting sound policies, practices, project activities and indicators to address equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

Wilder is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in political science and African American studies, Georgetown University Law School, where she obtained her Juris Doctorate. Wilder also attended George Washington where she received her certification as a Certified Public Manager and most recently the University of Baltimore where she received her Maryland Equity and Inclusion Leadership Program certification in 2019. In 2021, Wilder received certifications from the National Association of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education, Standards of Professional Practice Institute and from the Leadership Montgomery Racial Equity Leadership Program.

2023 Emcee 

Unique Mical Robinson

Unique Mical Robinson is a proud Baltimore city native. She received her Master of Fine Arts in English from Mills College in Oakland, California, and a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing/Black studies from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Unique has performed spoken word poetry for over 20 years throughout the United States, and Havana, Cuba. She began her career as a community organizer in Brooklyn, New York with VOCAL-NY (Voices of Community Activists and Leaders), and later, as an academic mentor in Oakland with Moving Forward Education. Since returning to Baltimore in 2015, Unique has worked as a poetry and performance teaching artist, and in administrative roles for various nonprofits, including DewMore Baltimore, Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center, AFRO Charities, and The Lyric Baltimore. Unique received the Emerging Teaching Artist award from Arts Every Day in 2017, The Grit Fund Grant in 2019 and an Artist Recovery Grant from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts in 2022. 

With the Maryland Institute College of Art, Unique has been adjunct faculty in humanistic studies since 2016, teaching critical theory and creative writing workshop courses, and co-facilitator of the Community Gathering series with MICA's diversity, equity and inclusion director. Unique is the director of MICA’s MFA in Community Arts Program.

Individuals with Disabilities

We encourage individuals with disabilities to register and participate in Rockville recreation programs. To adequately plan for a successful and rewarding experience, contact us via e-mail at specialevents@rockvillemd.gov or via phone at 240-314-8620. We ask that you inform us prior to the activity start date. Ample time is needed to secure auxiliary services and aides.