Boston held a celebration to honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, where Mayor Marty Walsh said the city's "special attention" to the holiday in King's name stems from his relationship with Boston and the city's commitment to ending inequality.
Walsh and Boston University presented "A Day of Celebration in Honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," the university's 49th commemoration of King, who earned his doctorate in systematic theology at the school.
"In Boston, we devote special attention to this day. That's because of the Kings' relationship to our city. It's because of our commitment in addressing the wrongs of our past and ending the inequities of our present," Walsh said during the virtual event.
The mayor said he felt the pandemic has "exploited, exposed and deepened the injustices in our society," furthering inequalities in areas such as health care, housing and job opportunities. Walsh called upon the city's residents to commit to anti-racism.
Although the city, and country, has some heavy work to do to improve these inequalities, Walsh believes there is hope, he said. He cited the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as a step in the right direction.
Boston University described the event as celebrating "the contributions of the Rev. Dr. King and civil rights leader, activist, and author Coretta Scott King to the Greater Boston community." Guests included Princeton professor of African American studies Eddie Glaude and Boston University professor and Center for Antiracist Research Founding Director Ibram X. Kendi.
Also Monday, Walsh -- who has been nominated to be President-elect Joe Biden's labor secretary and bid the city goodbye in his State of the City speech last week -- participated in the addiction treatment nonprofit Shatterproof's "End Addiction Stigma- Pledge to Help Those Struggling In Your Community" event as part of the National Day of Service.
Walsh has been open about his struggles with addiction and the ways we can help people become sober.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker spoke at Springfield's virtual Martin Luther King Day event, "The Dream is Calling You," Monday morning.