36th Annual Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration

BeBe Nguyen Around Town

Both in-person and online events planned for 2021

Reston Community Center will mark the 36th Annual Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration with a mix of online and in-person events to honor the Civil Rights leader and ask the community “Are We Keeping the Promise?”

“We have planned meaningful events that will ask important questions and look toward the future as we as a community and nation reckon with this year’s revelations of the inequitable impact of the pandemic and the continuing systemic racism that is our national reality,” said RCC Board Chair Beverly Cosham. “At the same time, we are dealing with a rise in COVID-19 cases, so it is important to keep public health and safety in mind as we structure the opportunities for our community to tackle these critical issues.”

To comply with and support public health standards and best practices, several previously announced events have been canceled or modified. This includes:

  • The Keynote Address by Ibram X. Kendi. Dr. Kendi, author of the book How to Be an Antiracist, (scheduled for Monday, January 18 at 11:00 a.m.) is rescheduled to early 2022 since his travel to Reston this year is precluded by current conditions.
  • The Community Luncheon and Especially for Youth (scheduled for Monday, January 18) will return for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration in 2022.

“We appreciate the community’s understanding as we continue to fight the pandemic,” said RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon. “We look forward to rejoining our community in person in January 2022 for these traditions that are loved by the community and so closely associated with our King holiday events.”

Despite these disappointing cancelations, community partners for the annual celebration have forged ahead with a combination of virtual events and community service projects that will continue to advance the meaning of Dr. King’s life and work. 

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 Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, Reston Community Orchestra, Reston Association, Southgate Community Center and Cornerstones, with the support of other religious and civic organizations, business groups and schools. The calendar of activities is provided below.

For more information, contact RCC Community Events Director Kevin Danaher at 703-390-6166 or at kevin.danaher@fairfaxcounty.gov. To register for programs, visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com or call 703-476-4500.

2021 Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Calendar of Events

January 4 – 18

Toiletries and cleaning supplies collection drive to support local families

RCC Hunters Woods and RCC Lake Anne

RCC is collecting supplies to support local families. Please donate at either RCC location. Needed items include soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant. Supplies will be provided to Cornerstones for distribution. Gift cards are also welcome.

Saturday, January 16

Community Service Projects

9:00 a.m. at RCC Hunters Woods
Free, 6 years and older

RCC is partnering with Reston Association, Cornerstones and The Closet for small, socially distanced community service projects. Volunteers will sort items from The Closet and make bag lunches for the Embry Rucker Community Shelter. Weather permitting, additional volunteers will be outside doing clean up on the paths around RCC Hunters Woods. Please note: The location has changed from a previously announced location of Southgate Community Center, which is not available this year. To register, contact Ha Brock, Reston Association Volunteer Coordinator and Community Outreach Coordinator, at 703-435-7986 or habrock@reston.org.

Reston Community Orchestra
Keeping the Dream: 15th Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2:00 p.m. Online: RCC YouTube Channel

Celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at this moving virtual performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing. The performance 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. Instead of the traditional presentation in the RCC Hunters Woods Community Room, the performance will debut on the RCC YouTube channel on Saturday, January 16.

Sunday, January 17

Akua Allrich and The Tribe, A Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba Tribute

2:00 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods – the CenterStage
$15 Reston/$30 Non-Reston

All Ages
Tickets sold through the 
CenterStage Box Office

Jazz vocalist and Washington, DC, native Akua Allrich has proven herself to be a musician of extraordinary talent and crowd-moving passion. With finesse and charisma, she has successfully etched a place for her unique musical expression by electrifying audiences. To comply with current public health guidelines, the seating capacity of the CenterStage is capped at 30%, mask-wearing is required, and other strategies will be in place to promote safe attendance.

Monday, January 18

Community Service Projects

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. 
RCC Hunters Woods
6 Years and Older • Free

RCC is partnering with Reston Association and Cornerstones for community service projects at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. Volunteers will make bag lunches for the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, and sort toiletries and cleaning supplies for the Cornerstones Assistance Services and the Pantry programs. Volunteer hours conclude around 1:30 p.m. To volunteer, please contact Ha Brock, Reston Association Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator, at 703-435-7986 or habrock@reston.org.

ONLINE, ON-DEMAND EVENTS

Please visit RCC’s YouTube page for these wonderful, free performances and messages that will be available beginning January 16 for anyone to watch at their convenience.

Reston Community Orchestra, along with a mixed community chorus, will present a virtual, socially distanced version of Lift Every Voice and Sing.  RCO’s performance of Lyric for Strings recorded at the CenterStage in November, will be combined with short home recordings from Al Fatih Academy students. The students’ school-wide theme this year is “Be an UPStander!” and their prompt for their individual messages was “I am an UPStander like Dr. King because…”

Akua Allrich and the Tribe prerecorded a performance specifically for Reston schools. The community is invited to enjoy the performance as well. 

Community leaders such as Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay, Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn, County Executive Bryan Hill, FCPS Hunter Mill School Board Representative Melanie Meren and others will offer reflections on Dr. King and the movement to which he devoted his life.


About Reston Community Center

Each year RCC offers positive, self-development experiences that enhance the quality of life for all people living and working in Reston. RCC provides a wide range of programs in arts, aquatics, enrichment and lifelong learning. We also create and sustain community traditions through special events, outreach activities and facility rentals. To find the programs or events that are right for you, visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com or call 703-476-4500. 

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request. For further information, contact Reston Community Center at 703-476-4500, TTY 711 or visit the website at www.restoncommunitycenter.com. Reston Community Center is located at 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, VA 20191. Reston Community Center is completely accessible to persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

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