Events observing MLK Day throughout the Valley

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Cine El Rey’s marquee is seen in this undated photo in McAllen. (Courtesy: Cine El Rey/Facebook)

The Rio Grande Valley is coming together to strengthen community ties while honoring one of the most important figures in history through the observation of MLK Day.

The national holiday is observed on the third Monday of January, which commemorates and honors the life, legacy and impact of the late civil rights activist Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year’s MLK Day falls on what would have been King’s 95th birthday.

In 1994, Congress passed a bill to dedicate the national holiday as a national day of service, according to PBS. The King Holiday and Service Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. John Lewis and Sen. Harris Wofford, who both worked alongside King in civil rights activism.

Additionally, MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service aimed at encouraging all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

Here’s events being held across the Valley in observation of MLK Day:

The Historic Cine El Rey Theatre Foundation and Village in the Valley are co-hosting the 14th annual MLK Day on Monday.

The free event will be held at Cine El Rey, located at 311 S 17th in McAllen. It’ll also feature free food, refreshments and entertainment from local performing artists. The event will also provide individuals the opportunity to meet several non-profit organizations sharing information regarding their services and volunteer opportunities.

Doors open at 4 p.m. but the event begins at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.

Texas State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa will be the keynote speaker and the leader for the annual commemorative symbolic walk in King’s honor.

“Senator Hinojosa’s lifetime dedication to public service serves as an inspiration. His leadership is a model of what MLK believed public service should be in elected officials,” said Bert Guerra, the co-owner of Cine El Rey and founder of the Historic Cine El Rey Theatre Foundation, said in the release.

“While some elected officials are good at quoting MLK, Senator Hinojosa has a proven record of action that is reflective of the spirit that is MLK’s legacy.”

Sister Norma Pimentel is also scheduled to give the ceremonial prayer, while Pastor Alphonzo Gatling will serve as the master of ceremony.

UTRGV students helped clean up the Restlawn Cemetery in Edinburg as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in January 2023. (Courtesy: Paul Chouy/UTRGV)

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will also have various volunteer sites across the region as it prepares for its annual MLK Day of Service, in which the UTRGV community commemorates the day by participating in volunteer projects.

Due to the weather, the event is in the process of being rescheduled.

“Each year, UTRGV unites on MLK Day of Service, dedicating time to volunteer and enhance our community,” Ashley Guzman, program coordinator for the UTRGV Center for Student Involvement and coordinator of MLK Day events for the UTRGV community, said in the release.

“Volunteering fosters connections among Vaqueros and contributes to the betterment of the place we proudly call home.”

Here are the volunteer sites:

>> Brownsville: BiG Heroes, located at 5552 Dockberry Rd.;

>> Brownsville: Good Neighbor Settlement House, located at 1254 E Tyler St.;

>> Brownsville: Keep Brownsville Beautiful, located at 104 El Paso Rd (Oliveira Park);

>> San Benito: La Posada Providencia, located at 30094 Marydale Rd.;

>> Harlingen: Loaves &Fishes, located at 514 S E St.;

>> McAllen: Keep McAllen Beautiful, located at 4101 US-83 Business (McAllen Nature Center);

>> Edinburg: Restlawn Cemetery, located at 1122 North Jasman Rd.;

>> and Pharr: Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, located at 724 N Cage Blvd.

Those who volunteer will receive a free t-shirt and a free lunch after the event.

The volunteer activities serve as an opportunity to connect with others in the UTRGV community, engage in meaningful projects that have an impact on the Valley as well as build leadership and teamwork skills, Guzman noted in the release.

To register or volunteer, visit

Additionally, two programs planned for MLK Day have been changed due to the forecast of extreme winter weather.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Holiday Program set for Monday evening at Bethel Garden — Texas Historic Landmark (the former site of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church), has been canceled.

“This outdoor event was scheduled to occur from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM, but expected inclement weather conditions will pose a health and safety hazard to the public,” the organizers said in a statement.

MLK Day of Service planned for Monday, hosted by the City of Edinburg, the City’s Cultural Arts’ Juneteenth Committee and Village in the Valley (VIVA), has been reschedule for 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Jan. 19.

The engaging “Clean Up” initiative will be held at Restlawn Cemetery and Rising Star Historic Black Church in Edinburg. For more information on this event, visit