Milestone 40th anniversary event will celebrate winners at free citywide celebration on Monday, January 15

MILWAUKEE (January 3, 2024) – The Marcus Performing Arts Center (MPAC), along with We Energies, Milwaukee Public Schools, and Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, announced today the student winners of the 40th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. art, speech, and writing contests. The winners will be celebrated at the 40th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration, presented by Bader Philanthropies, on Monday, January 15 at the Marcus Performing Arts Center.

This free event, coordinated by the MLK Steering Committee, will begin at 4:00 p.m. in Uihlein Hall and highlight this year’s youth contest winners as well as feature remarks from elected officials; performances from Rufus King International High School Varsity Drumline, Steffon Dixon, and Antoine Reynolds and The Sound; and a special presentation of the inaugural Rev. Joseph Ellwanger Social Justice Award.

The Celebration activities will conclude with a free gospel concert featuring Antoine Reynolds with Anthony McGahee & Praise Motivated.

This year’s theme, “What Affects One…Affects All,” was inspired by Dr. King’s words in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” which was written in April 1963 as he was imprisoned for leading non-violent protests.

“We are honored to host this long-standing community event and provide this opportunity for Milwaukee’s youth to learn about the life and legacy of Dr. King,” said MPAC President & CEO Kevin Giglinto. “This enduring tradition reflects the Marcus Performing Arts Center’s commitment to the principles of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

Since 1984, Milwaukee has proudly stood alongside Atlanta as one of the only cities in the country to host an annual celebration in honor of Dr. King’s birthday. For four decades, young people have been the heart of this celebration, expressing Dr. King’s timeless messages through art, speech, and writing contests.

Download the full press release.