New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Paths to Change

January 12, 2023

Martin Luther King in foreground wearing March on Washington pin on his shirt lapel. To left of him two men can be seen in tight row of people, singing.
Watch New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Paths to Change on THIRTEEN, Thursday, January 19 at 10 p.m.; livestream at www.thirteen.org/live

The New York State broadcast event New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Paths to Change will air on PBS stations throughout New York beginning Sunday, January 15. The public may also attend a free screening of the tribute on Friday, January 13 (door open 6 p.m.; screening at 7 p.m.), at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany or stream the program on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 16, beginning at 10 a.m.

Hosted by Reverend Dr. Mashona Walston, a pastor, chaplain, speaker, veterans advocate, and neurotheologian who serves as the Senior Minister at the First Church in Albany, NY, this year’s program will take viewers on a virtual tour across New York State.

Through the eyes of New Yorkers from Buffalo to Brooklyn, Rochester to New Paltz, the program focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and dreams with music, art, and inspiring stories that reflect paths to change across New York State. Some of the show’s highlights include:

  • A special Martin Luther King Jr. Day message from Governor Hochul
  • A feature on the “Path to Peace,” highlighting spiritual leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Malcolm X and their influence on Dr. King
  • Inspirational performances, including an original play performed by students of the SUNY New Paltz arts program and written by New Paltz graduate Lester Mayers; songs by the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ensemble; and a powerful presentation by spoken word artist, Alonzo Verbal
  • A profile of the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York City, also known as the “Soul of American Culture.”
  • A look at SHRED, a snowboarding foundation that is nurturing the lives of young people in the community, both on and off the mountain


“Few individuals have raised the conscience of our nation and the world as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has, both through his words and deeds,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “This year, New York presents a statewide broadcast that highlights the lasting legacy of Dr. King’s vision and promise he instilled within us all. I invite all New Yorkers to watch this moving tribute to an extraordinary man.”

In addition to the attending or watching the tribute, New Yorkers are invited to view the New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art and Essay Virtual Gallery, which will be available for viewing at empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking from Wednesday, January 11 through Tuesday, February 28. The exhibit features submissions from students from kindergarten through grade 12 that are inspired by Dr. King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence.

As in years past, New York State is hosting several service-related programs to fulfill Dr. King’s vision of community, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Food Drive, which concludes Friday, February 10, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Book Drive, which begins Monday, February 20 through Friday, April 21. Please visit empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking, and follow @NYSMLK on Facebook and Twitter for PBS member station program updates and additional information about New York’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King.

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