Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be observed with a series of events in Santa Monica Friday through Monday, Jan. 14 through 17, commemorating the birthday of the slain civil rights leader.
The theme of this year’s events is “Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport; We Must Act Now!” Event organizers say the annual celebration of the official King holiday in Santa Monica has become one of the largest and most diverse celebrations of its kind in Southern California.
The scheduled Santa Monica area events in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day include:
€ Friday, Jan. 14, from 7:30 to 9 a.m.: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast at the Calvary Baptist Church, 1502 20th St. The suggested donation is $25 per person or $200 for a table of 10.
€ Saturday, Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon: “MLK Kidz Party,” an introduction to the life and teachings of King with music, art, face painting, storytelling and children’s entertainer Michael Cladis at the Virginia Avenue Park “Kidz Zone,” 2200 Virginia Ave. Free admission.
€ Saturday, Jan. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m.: “Peace In,” geared to teenagers, with music, poetry, spoken word, art and diversity workshop at The Talking Stick, 1411 Lincoln Blvd., Venice. Free. Sponsored by the NAACP Santa Monica-Venice branch, the Santa Monica Human Relations Council and the Pico Youth and Family Center.
€ Sunday, Jan. 16 at 3:30 p.m.: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fifth Annual Commemorative Concert, presented by the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra and featuring violinist Danielle Belén.
€ Monday, Jan. 17 at 9 a.m.: 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, a multiethnic interfaith program featuring inspirational readings, speakers, musical performances and presentations of scholarships; SGI-USA Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. Free. Val Zavala, KCET’s vice president of news and public affairs and anchor of KCET’s weekly magazine “SoCal Connected,” will be the keynote speaker.
The celebration will be followed by a Community Involvement Fair, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at 606 Wilshire Blvd. Free parking is available on Seventh Street, behind the 7-11 store on Wilshire Boulevard.
The events are presented by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition in cooperation with the Westside Interfaith Coalition and the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra.
The Jan. 17 event is co-sponsored by Santa Monica College, Santa Monica College Associates, the city of Santa Monica, RAND Corp., and SGI-USA.
Information on the events, (310) 434-4303.