This MLK Day event helps hundreds of strangers find what they have in common

Volunteers, who both tutor at local charter schools, pose for Big Sunday's
Volunteers, who both tutor at local charter schools, pose for Big Sunday's "Something in Common 2015" photo series. On MLK Day, hundreds of strangers will meet, find something in common and pose for photos to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
Courtesy of Big Sunday

Hundreds of strangers are about to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day by doing something strangers don't typically do: find common ground.

In a photo series called "Something in Common," strangers will be paired together, get to know each other and find something in common — a fear of heights, motherhood or maybe a love/hate relationship with the movie "Frozen," to name a few examples from the project's previous participants.

The pictures will be taken Monday as a part of the 5th Annual MLK Day Clothing Collection & Community Breakfast. In addition to the photo project, more than 20,000 articles of clothing will be collected and donated to schools and local nonprofits, David Levinson, executive director of the event's organizer Big Sunday, told KPCC.

For the photos, newly acquainted strangers will write their shared trait on a handheld chalkboard. Then, they'll pose for their picture together. The exercise is simple and anyone can participate, according to the event's website.

It's something different than the conflict we see in the news and online every day, Levinson said. 

"We live in such a divisive time right now," he said. "There's always fear of the other and people getting mad at each other."

During 2016's photo event, more than 600 people got their picture taken together. This is the photo series' third year, Levinson said, adding that the photos have become one of his favorite parts of the holiday. 

Last year, these girls shared the same kind of hair:

Courtesy of Big Sunday

And these two both knew how to party:

Courtesy of Big Sunday

You can watch a video from last year's photo series here:


"It's a big party," Levinson said. "We see it again and again and again — no matter what you see on TV, no matter what you hear on the internet, most people want to focus on what we share."

When: The event starts at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 16, and ends at noon

Location: 6111 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038 (Big Sunday's headquarters)

Volunteers are needed to count, sort, sew, iron and fold clothes. There will also be crafts and doughnuts for all volunteers. The Blue Breeze band will be on hand playing Motown music.

RSVP for the event on Big Sunday's website.