Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration

Activist and author DeRay Mckesson to deliver keynote address

Reston Community Center will have a full slate of community events January 19 to 21 as it presents the 34th Annual Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration.

DeRay Mckesson, organizer, activist and author of the new book On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope, will deliver this year’s keynote address at noon on January 21 at RCC Hunters Woods. Attendees will enjoy a family-style community lunch at RCC Hunters Woods following Mckesson’s speech. Mckesson will also sign books following the community lunch.

Tickets are $5 for Reston residents and employees, and $10 for all others. Tickets to the community lunch and keynote address are required. Tickets are available at the CenterStage box office or by calling 703-476-4500.

“DeRay Mckesson speaks with urgency and the poignancy of his own lived experience. He is among the new wave of leaders emerging to tackle the persistent issues of injustice, inequity and racial disharmony that infect and poison the American experience. DeRay urges us to tackle these concerns with integrity, commitment and awareness,” said RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon. “We are eager to hear from him.”

This year’s Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration will also include events at Southgate Community Center, North County Government Center and Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation.

The Reston Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration weekend is presented by Reston Community Center in cooperation with the Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church, the Office of Fairfax County Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins, Reston Community Orchestra, Reston Association, Southgate Community Center and Cornerstones, with the support of other religious and civic organizations, business groups and schools.

For more information contact Kevin Danaher, Community Events Director, at 703-390-6166 or via email at To register for programs, visit or call 703-476-4500.

2019 Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Calendar of Events

Saturday, January 19

Community Service Projects

9:00 a.m.
Southgate Community Center
12125 Pinecrest Road, Reston, VA

1:00 p.m.
North County Government Center
1801 Cameron Glen Drive

All ages – Free – Registration required through Reston Association, 703-435-7986 or

Join friends and neighbors in honoring Dr. King’s legacy by serving your community. As Dr. King said, “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve.” RCC is partnering with Southgate Community Center, Reston Association, Cornerstones and The Closet on community service projects. Indoor projects include making bag lunches for the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, sorting and organizing items from The Closet and several other projects at Southgate Community Center. There will also be several outdoor projects such as cleaning up the natural areas, pathways and hardscape surrounding Southgate, weather permitting. Volunteer hours conclude around noon, at which point volunteers will gather to share a lunch that will be provided.

New this year is an afternoon service project at the North County Government Center. RCC is partnering with Cornerstones and the office of the Hunter Mill Supervisor. Volunteers will sort and organize items donated to the Hunter Mill Winter Coat Closet.

Reston Community Orchestra 13th Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

4:00 p.m.
RCC Hunters Woods – Community Room

Free, donations appreciated

Celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with this free concert that has become a meaningful addition to Reston’s annual weekend of activities commemorating this great American’s contributions and achievements. Combining the traditions of African-American culture and Western Classical music, the concert pays tribute to Dr. King’s vision of a society free of prejudice and racial divisions, and his belief in the power of music to help create positive change. Featured performers will include students from Al Fatih Academy, the Men’s Chorus of Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church of Reston and song stylist Beverly Cosham.

Sunday, January 20

Singer-Songwriter Crys Matthews

2:00 p.m.
RCC Hunters Woods – the CenterStage

$15/Reston, $20 Non-Reston (tickets sold through the CenterStage box office)

Crys Matthews’ songs speak in the voice of her generation and remind us that music still soothes. Come and hear this performer who has been compared to a young Tracy Chapman.

Voices of Inspiration

4:00 p.m.
Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation
1441 Wiehle Avenue, Reston

All ages – Free

Voices of Inspiration is the 29th Anniversary program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This event is sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church and includes many Reston faith communities.

Monday, January 21

Keynote Address by DeRay Mckesson followed by Community Lunch

12:00 p.m.
RCC Hunters Woods: the CenterStage and Community Room

$5 Reston/$10 Non-Reston (tickets sold through the CenterStage box office)

DeRay Mckesson is an organizer, activist and educator focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Spurred by the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, MO, Mckesson has become a leading voice in the effort to confront the systems and structures that led to the mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations. Mckesson’s newly released book On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope will be available for purchase before and after his keynote address, and the author will sign books following the community lunch. The community lunch will be in RCC’s Community Room following the keynote address.

Especially for Youth

11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
RCC Hunters Woods

6 – 12 Years Old. Free. Registration Required. Reg. #704750-8A

You may register your school-age child (first to sixth grade) to participate in activities at RCC. Children should be registered in advance. Limited onsite registration will be available on the day of the event; however, all forms must be completed in their entirety. Children will rotate through a series of activities including a performance, an age-appropriate video, and arts and crafts. All activities will be based on the history of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

Photos at top:

Left:Volunteers engage in community service projects, 2018/Credit: RCC

Center: DeRay Mckesson/Credit: Spitz 

Right: Crys Matthews

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