Public Invited to Attend a Free Special Screening of the Program Friday, January 13, at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center 

Program Hosted by Reverend Dr. Mashona Walston, Senior Minister of First Church in Albany

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that New York State’s annual commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be presented as a statewide broadcast event, “New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Paths to Change,” airing 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, at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany or watch the program beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, January 16.

“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 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.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as a pillar in our society and his legacy is cemented in our nation’s history. His heroic actions and powerful message have inspired so many and will continue to serve as an inspiration for generations to come,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “I am proud to join Governor Hochul in announcing New York’s statewide broadcast that pays tribute to the monumental man that Dr. King was.”

Coordinated annually by the state Office of General Services and representatives from other New York State agencies, the tribute to Dr. King showcases people and organizations from across New York State that embody the principles of one of America’s most significant leaders for social justice, freedom, and equality. Airtime of the hour-long tribute will vary by region; viewers are encouraged to check their TV listings or local PBS station for more details.

Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “As New Yorkers join together to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., all of us must recommit ourselves to his vision of a more united society. We must look to his legacy as New York, and this nation continues our quest for equality and equity. I join Governor Hochul in urging New Yorkers to watch this program and rededicate themselves to keeping Dr. King’s dream alive.”

WMHT CEO Robert Altman said, “We are honored to once again join communities across the state of New York as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to justice, rights and liberties for all. These stories and voices show that Dr. King’s vision for America remains vital today and we are proud to share that message through public television.”

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, 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 Paltzgraduate 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, 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

Everyone is invited to tune in to learn more about New Yorkers living their lives in the image of Dr. King. The public is also invited to attend a special screening of the tribute on Friday, January 13, at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. The event is free, with doors opening at 6 p.m. for light refreshments and the program screening beginning promptly at 7 p.m.

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.