Coronavirus tests, other public service events on MLK Day in L.A.

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A youngster leaps off the Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" statue
A youngster leaps off the Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" statue at the Riverside Pedestrian Mall on the eve before Martin Luther King day. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles' annual parade honoring Martin Luther King Jr. has been canceled for the second year in a row because of COVID-19 concerns, but numerous other events are planned across the city on Monday to celebrate the legacy of the late civil rights leader.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday, is observed each year on the third Monday of January and is designated as a national day of public service. This year's festivities include free pop-up coronavirus testing and vaccination sites, clothing drives, virtual handwritten letter events and more.

As celebrations take place throughout the area, L.A. county and city government offices, courts and libraries will be closed. Los Angeles Unified School District students have the day off. Post offices will also be closed, and mail will not be delivered. Some banks may be closed for in-person services.

Here are some Los Angeles-area events scheduled for Monday:

In-car COVID-19 rapid-testing: The Congress of Racial Equality Kingdom Day Parade Committee will sponsor a free in-car COVID-19 rapid-testing event. Five hundred rapid tests will be on tap, and vehicles can begin lining up on West 43rd Street off Degnan Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"The Hope Clinic": The First African Methodist Episcopal Church, in partnership with Fulgent Genetics, will host a COVID-19 vaccination and testing event at 2270 S. Harvard Blvd. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Seventh annual MLK Day Clothing Collection & Community Breakfast: The nonprofit Big Sunday is hosting its annual clothing collection drive and community breakfast from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 6111 Melrose Ave. Only new clothes — business, casual and athletic wear — will be accepted. There will also be arts and crafts for sale to benefit local nonprofits and live music from the Blue Breeze Band.

Caravan for social justice: To honor MLK's legacy, the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice will hold a caravan to fight against systemic racism and voter suppression. Organizers encourage participants to decorate their vehicles and join in beginning at 10 a.m. at Western Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard. There are no fees to participate, and the caravan begins at 11 a.m.

MLK Day of Service: Those interested in completing virtual service projects can participate in two events organized by Leadership Long Beach: writing handwritten letters to seniors in local care facilities or putting together a community care package with hygiene items and everyday household products to help a family in need. To sign up, visit leadershiplb.org/mlk/ .

Unity Skate & Walk Event: LAUSD second-grader Isabella Blue, Unite L.A. Foundation and other organizations will host "Unity Skate and Walk" with giveaways, music, birthday cake and COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. at Metro Rosa Parks Station, 11611 Willowbrook Ave.

King Day reading and discussion: A reading and online discussion of King's 1967 speech "A Christmas Sermon on Peace" is part of the California African American Museum's virtual program. Members of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles will sing spiritual and original music. To RSVP, visit: www.caamuseum.org/programs/kids-teens-and-families/king-day-2022.

37th annual MLK Celebration: In Santa Monica, MLK Westside Coalition shifted its in-person festivities to a virtual gathering featuring music by Linda Alvarez Trio, spoken word by Get Lit — Words Ignite, and a keynote speech by Los Angeles Times columnist LZ Granderson. The livestream begins at 9 a.m. on www.mlkjrwestside.org.

MLK The Legacy: Beginning at 7 p.m., the city of Carson will livestream its virtual MLK tribute. To watch, visit www.ci.carson.ca.us/.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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