Yolanda King, eldest daughter of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be the keynote speaker this year in Santa Monica at an annual celebration of her father’s legacy and contribution to civil rights.

The ceremony will end with the dedication of a new library auditorium named for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The celebration is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and the library dedication will be held at noon, Monday, January 16th, at the SGI (Soka Gakai International) Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. Admission is free.

King will be introduced by Dr. Edward Carter Sr., who is the first dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta and the founder of the Gandhi Institute for Reconciliation.

The event will end with a march two blocks to the dedication of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium in the new Santa Monica Public Library.

Festivities are coordinated by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition, a nonprofit coalition whose missions are consistent with King’s legacy. It is cosponsored by Santa Monica College, the City of Santa Monica and the SMC Associates.

The multi-ethnic interfaith program will also include inspirational readings, music and presentations of scholarships. The theme is “State of the Union: A Time for Love, Not Hate; for Understanding, Not Anger; for Peace, Not War.”

Yolanda King is founder and chief executive officer of Higher Ground Productions, an organization dedicated to teaching people to celebrate diversity and embrace unity. She is a speaker and actor who has performed or lectured in 49 or the 50 American states as well as in Europe, Africa and Asia for educational, business, religious and civic organizations.

She is the author or co-author of two books, Open My Eyes, Open My Soul and Embracing Your Power in 30 Days.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree with honors from Smith College, King received a master’s degree in theater from New York University and directed and performed in productions in that area. As an actor, she has done several roles in films that have to do with social change, including playing Rosa Parks in the NBC-TV movie King, Dr. Betty Shabazz in the film Death of a Prophet, and Medgar Evers’ daughter Reena in Ghosts of Mississippi.

King serves on the boards of a number of organizations dedicated to social change, justice, and peace.

Information, (310) 434-4003.