100% Austin news, info, and entertainment, straight to your inbox at 6 a.m. every morning.
In five minutes, you're fully informed and ready to start another great day in our city.
As Austinites prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2021, the holiday can be viewed with a new mindset than last year or maybe, ever before. After a year that tested people everywhere, now is as good a time as ever to reflect on the history of how we got here.
Almost 58 years after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech at the March on Washington in 1963, America is still dealing with similar issues—even in our own backyard.
Alongside many other U.S. cities after George Floyd was killed by police in May 2020, Black Lives Matter protests erupted in Austin and continued, sporadically, for months.
And tensions from an election year meant unrest throughout the country. A contentious and nail-biting election, followed by a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol and another vote for impeachment of the president has left many nervous about the future.
Not to mention, this all happened during a global pandemic.
Normally, there would be a parade in Austin to celebrate MLK day, but right now, things aren't normal. So this year—after a year that felt so dramatically different than those leading up to it—here are a few ways to celebrate Dr. King's legacy.
MLK Day Livestream and In-Car Rally
Attend either in your car or in your home, this year's parade has been replaced by a car rally for the safety of the community. The rally begins at 10:30 a.m. and seeks to honor what Dr. King stood for: social justice and racial reconciliation.
MLK Walk for Peace, Justice and Equality
Stream the 32nd annual MLK Walk for Peace, Justice and Equality, which will not meet in person this year, put on by the city of Smithville. The program is shared between Smithville, Bastrop and Elgin to celebrate Dr. King's life and work.
MLK Day Artist Appreciation BroadcastThe Vortex, 2307 Manor Road, will hold an appreciation broadcast in celebration of Dr. King and BIPOC artists in the community instead of its usual open mic in honor of MLK Day. The broadcast starts at 8 p.m with all proceeds going to the artists involved.
- Robert F. Smith agrees to $140M tax fraud settlement - austonia ›
- 4 Austin optimists opening new businesses in the pandemic - austonia ›
- City Council approves lowering speed limits across Austin - austonia ›
Matthew McConaughey is reportedly weighing a run for Texas governor in 2022.
The Austin resident and Oscar winner has been "quietly making calls to influential people in Texas political circles, including a deep-pocketed moderate Republican and energy CEO" as he decides whether to run, according to Politico.
McConaughey said a gubernatorial run is "a true consideration" while on a March episode of Houston's "The Balanced Voice" podcast.
Although most political strategists doubt McConaughey's commitment and viability as a candidate, some are still intrigued by the possibility.
"I find it improbable, but it's not out of the question," Karl Rove, a top Republican strategist with a long history in Austin, told the political news site. He added that the big question is whether McConaughey would run as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent.
Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based GOP strategist, told Politico he's surprised McConaughey isn't being taken more seriously. "Celebrity in this country counts for a lot," he said. "It's not like some C-list actor no one likes. He has an appeal."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to run for a third term and remains popular among Republican voters, 77% of whom approve of his performance as of April, according to the Texas Politics Project.
Some strategists believe an independent McConaughey run would benefit Abbott. But a recent poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that McConaughey would beat Abbott, 45% to 33%, with 22% opting for someone else.
Mimi Swartz, an executive editor at Texas Monthly, mulled a McConaughey run in a recent opinion essay from the New York Times. "Texas may not be ready for a philosopher king as a candidate, much less governor," she wrote. "May the best man win, man."
- Matthew McConaughey featured on the cover of People Magazine ... ›
- Minister of Culture Matthew McConaughey talks preserving Austin ... ›
- McConaughey to showcase Texas talent in winter storm benefit ... ›
- Texans vote McConaughey in latest governor poll - austonia ›
Some JuiceLand production facility workers and storefront employees are organizing to demand wage increases, better working conditions (including air conditioning in the warehouse) and pay transparency, among other asks. They are also calling on staff to strike and customers to boycott the Austin-based company until their demands are met.
JuiceLand responded on Saturday. "We are listening," the company wrote on their Instagram story. "JuiceLand crew now makes guaranteed $15 an hour or more companywide."
JuiceLand, which was founded in 2001 by Matt Shook and now has 35 locations in Austin, Houston and Dallas, acknowledged the rising cost of living across Texas and the added stress of the pandemic in an email to employees on Saturday, part of which @juicelandworkersrights shared on social media. "There's no denying that times are tough and financial security means more now than ever," the company wrote.
Organized JuiceLand workers rejected this proposal, according to a recent post on the @juicelandworkersrights Instagram account, and reiterated their demands.
"Cost of living in Austin is rising exponentially and will only continue to get worse with the tech boom," the post read. "$15 is barely a sustainable living."