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Annual Freedom March Scheduled for 1/18/21 -- MLK Day

The Lexington Fayette Urban County Government and University of Kentucky will come together to once again co-sponsor the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration on Monday, January 18, 2021. The 2021 events feature the traditional Freedom March at 10:00 a.m. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, there will be some changes to the traditional Freedom March procedures. We encourage the safe participation of individuals and community groups who have been such a critical part of the success of this march for many years. The following are some details of changes we are making to maximize health and safety:

  • To facilitate the safest marching conditions, the march line-up, with which you are familiar, will be temporarily discarded to ensure the maximum possible opportunities for social distancing.

  • As you arrive, we highly encourage all participants to line up along High Street adjacent to the Central Bank Center (formerly Lexington Convention Center) in an orderly and physically distanced fashion, while wearing a mask or some form of protective face shield covering.

  • There will not be markers placed to reserve march line-up positions this year, and we encourage all participants to avoid forming in close groups.

  • The entire event will be conducted outdoors. Complimentary parking will be provided in the large Central Bank Center lot on High Street.

  • You can proceed from your vehicles directly to the march beginning at 10:00 a.m. Because of safety for participants, downtown streets will begin closure at 9:45 a.m. through duration of the march.

  • The Freedom March route in the heart of downtown Lexington will be primarily the same as in previous years, with the exception of beginning on High Street at Central Bank Center and concluding at Triangle Park.

  • The 2020 Lexington MLK Holiday Celebration theme is Reclamation, Revolution, Restoration. In lieu of the traditional Commemorative Program held in Heritage Hall, the MLK Holiday Planning Committee has partnered with Lexington-born filmmaker, Joan Brannon, to produce a documentary focusing on the African American quest for social justice from the Civil Rights era to our contemporary moment. This film will be screened across several area media platforms throughout January and February 2021.

  • While our current plans are to move forward with the march in January, the planning committee will continue to evaluate the virus and its impact on our community. We will work with the Governor’s office and public health officials and should we determine that the march should be delayed or canceled this year due to public safety and health concerns, we will be back in touch with participants.

In 2019, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Committee decided it would begin efforts to engage the community in months leading up to the annual celebration. The committee is committed to providing opportunities for the community to engage throughout the year through a series of events called Critical Conversations. These events are being offered remotely to allow the safe participation of all community members in these forums.

If your organization or any individual would like to contribute to these events, please make checks payable to: MLK Holiday Committee Fund, 499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507. Invoice is available upon request. Or, for your convenience you can donate online at


For questions concerning the annual Freedom March, planned programming, or contributions please feel free to email or call 859-257-8927. Contributions are very much appreciated, but certainly not required for your participation.

With your help, Lexington and surrounding communities will once again honor this great champion of justice and human dignity. We look forward to your participation and support of the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration.

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