Martin Luther King Jr. Day has become more than a yearly memorial to the civil rights leader, but a day of service. Throughout the nation, thousands of people will give back to their communities, just as Dr. King did.
This morning, hundreds of riders embarked from San Mateo on the Celebration Train by way of Caltrain #135. The celebration, an offshoot of the annual Freedom Train, honors the legacy of the late Coretta Scott King and her husband by providing special MLK Day train service for people from the South Bay and Peninsula who want to celebrate in San Francisco.
The 54-mile train ride ends in San Francisco for the city’s annual parade commemorating King’s 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.
I remember last year, we were riding w/ bay to breakers all dressed in costumes. #Freedomtrain is now celebration train? Still work to do!
— Ramblin' Explorer (@SinCitizenGent) January 18, 2016
In San Jose, Mayor Sam Liccardo will attend a MLK Day luncheon to honor Iola Williams, former vice mayor of San Jose and the first African American elected to the City Council.
In the East Bay, a number of other events will take place today. Hayward plays host to a free MLK Day celebration featuring actress and writer Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of civil rights activist Rev. Ralph Abernathy, at 4:30pm at the Chabot College Performing Arts Center.
Several observances are happening in Oakland throughout the day, including the 10th annual MLK Jr. Film Festival at the city’s African American Museum and Library. For something more hands-on, the East Bay Regional Park District will spend the first part of the day with volunteers to remove invasive plants.
Two morning services start at 10:30 today in San Leandro: the Celebration and Oratorical Festival and the Celebration Honoring Dr. King. Both take places at the city’s Senior Community Center.
For more events throughout the Bay Area, click here. Follow @NorcalMLK on Twitter for updates about local events. To see what's happening around nationwide, follow the hashtag #MLKday2016. Most state, federal and local government offices are closed, including local libraries, post offices and city halls.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris this morning called for people to rededicate themselves two Dr. King's vision. Here's her entire statement:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. united and inspired people to fight for and demand a more just nation in a time of violent and systemic racism, when millions of Americans were denied their right to vote and basic human and civil rights, and when racial enmity was stoked and exploited by voices of reaction.
Today, many thousands of people, young and old, have been marching in the streets to decry the injustices their communities have suffered for far too long. They are demanding an end to the killing of unarmed Black men like Trayvon Martin and Walter Scott. They are demanding a justice system where the color of one's skin does not predetermine the measure of justice received. They are demanding economic opportunity in long-suffering communities. And they are demanding true inclusion and acceptance of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or identity.
Let us recommit ourselves to Dr. King's vision—his unyielding demand for justice and an end to bigotry. As Dr. King did in his time, let us reject any voice of intolerance that would vilify people based on their race or religion. We must look to Dr. King's vision to inspire real change, not just today but every day.
To revisit some of Dr.King’s famous speeches, letters and other writings, visit the King Center's digital archives. Don’t forget some of his lesser known work. Meanwhile, read up on the history about why and how this became a holiday in the first place and what Stevie Wonder had to do with it.
— Mike Ryan (@MikeGordonRyan) January 18, 2016