DETROIT (AP) — Marches and programs celebrating the birthday and impact of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. are being held in a number of cities across Michigan.

In Detroit, Southern Christian Leadership Conference national board chair Bernard LaFayette Jr. told reporters prior to an event at a downtown-area church that more people from different ethnicities are getting involved in civil rights and issues impacting poor people.

Lafayette worked alongside King before the civil rights leader was slain in 1968. LaFayette also said that children should be educated on what King believed and "realize they don't need to solve problems using violence."

Other events were scheduled in Southfield, Lansing and Ann Arbor.

President Ronald Reagan signed a 1983 bill establishing the federal holiday which first was observed in 1986.