Credit: Bill Moore photo

WNYC and the Apollo Theater are bringing the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event to the national airwaves and digitally on Facebook Live.

This year’s presentation, “MLK and the Fierce Urgency of Now!” will air on The Takeaway — the national news program from WNYC and PRX — on Monday, January 18, 3-4pm ET on WNYC 93.9 FM and on 270 additional radio stations across the country (check local listings). The special broadcast will be co-hosted by the event’s signature hosts — WNYC’s public affairs host Brian Lehrer and Senior Editor of WNYC’s Race and Justice Unit Jami Floyd — who will be joined by Tanzina Vega, host of The Takeaway.

“MLK and the Fierce Urgency of Now!” convenes an impressive roster of civil rights leaders, elected officials, activists, journalists, and artists to engage with Dr. King’s teachings and philosophies, and incorporate them into present-day social justice movements. Guests will discuss the pressing priorities facing the incoming Biden/Harris administration, strategies to remove barriers to health equity for Black Americans, and what comes next in our nation’s ongoing fight against systemic racism.

“MLK and the Fierce Urgency of Now!” will also be shared as a video simulcast on Facebook Live at 3pm ET on the WNYC and Apollo Theater Facebook pages. The video version of the program will include introductions from Goli Sheikholeslami, President and CEO of New York Public Radio; Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo Theater; and Isisara Bey, Artistic Director of the March on Washington Film Festival.

“I’m so proud that this year marks WNYC’s 15th anniversary of bringing New Yorkers vital conversations about race and justice on Dr. King’s birthday,” said Brenda Williams-Butts, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at New York Public Radio and Co-Founder of WNYC’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event. “We founded this event to provide a place to celebrate his life, but also discuss the serious work still at hand. Fifteen years later — as a new administration, whose victory owes much to Black voters, prepares to take control in the wake of a far-right insurrection on the Capitol — ‘the fierce urgency of now’ has taken on even more profound resonance.”

“We’re excited to partner with the Apollo to bring our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. event to the national airwaves at a moment when we so deeply need to channel his legacy, leadership, and lessons,” said Goli Sheikholeslami, President and CEO, New York Public Radio. “WNYC’s mission is to convene conversation and community around the critical issues of the day, and we’re honored to bring our listeners the voices of so many respected leaders and changemakers at this inflection point in America’s democracy.”

“I’m thrilled that we are continuing our partnership with WNYC to bring people together to hear from some of today’s most poignant leaders, activists, journalists, and scholars reflecting on Dr. King’s legacy and the urgent need to continue to fight for safety, dignity, and justice,” said Jonelle Procope, Apollo Theater President and CEO. “The Apollo has long been committed to supporting Black voices and creating spaces for artists and audiences to express themselves freely, and the annual MLK Celebration has been one of the hallmarks of our programming.”