Los Angeles

Make it a Day on, Not Off: Martin Luther King Day Events

Service projects and tributes will be held throughout Los Angeles County Monday to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day in an attempt to fulfill the goal set by Congress in 1994 to make it a "day on, not a day off.''

Long Beach's seventh Day of Service will begin at 8 a.m. with a rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 8 a.m., with volunteers then participating in environmental service projects throughout the city.

The fifth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Clothing Collection & Community Breakfast will be held from 9 a.m.-noon at the headquarters of the volunteer organization Big Sunday at 6111 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood.

Hundreds of volunteers will sort and fold more than 20,000 items of clothing, which will be donated to more than seven organizations, according to David Levinson, Big Sunday's founder and executive director.

"Despite what you hear, now, more than ever, most people want to focus on what we have in common,'' Levinson said. "There are so many people -- from all walks of life -- who want to work together to make our world a nicer place.''

More than 700 volunteers will join the 288 City Year Los Angeles members at Crenshaw High School at 9 a.m. to paint 35 murals, 120 college logos and undertake two gardening projects.

City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps members work full time at 28 Los Angeles Unified School District Schools to help students stay in school and on track to graduate high school.

Employees of AltaMed Health Services and volunteers will participate in the sixth annual Roosevelt High School Beautification Day from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

The goal is to create a safe and visually appealing space for the students to learn, according to AltaMed President and CEO Castulo de la Rocha, an alumnus of the Boyle Heights school.

University of La Verne students, faculty, staff, alumni and others will help the homeless, spend time with the elderly, mentor children and perform other volunteer work from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Inglewood's 34th annual commemoration of King's life and accomplishments will begin at 9 a.m. with a commemorative program at The Tabernacle, with performances by local choirs and community groups along with participation from elected officials and special guests.

The event will have the theme "Building Bridges: Embracing Our Diversity.''

A symbolic civil rights march will follow the service at approximately 11 a.m. and head to the Forum, where King Fest will be held with live entertainment and interactive games.

The Valley Interfaith Council's Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration will be held from from 5-9 p.m. at the Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church in Pacoima and include a performance by the San Fernando Valley Mass Choir.

In his proclamation designating Monday as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Barack Obama declared, "As we reflect on Dr. King's legacy, we celebrate a man and a movement that transformed our country, and we remember that our freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of others.

"Given the causes he championed -- from civil rights and international peace to job creation and economic justice -- it is right that today we honor his work by serving others.

"Now more than ever, we must heed his teachings by embracing our convictions. We must live our values, strive for righteousness and bring goodness to others.

"And at a time when our politics are so sharply polarized and people are losing faith in our institutions, we must meet his call to stand in another person's shoes and see through their eyes.

"We must work to understand the pain of others, and we must assume the best in each other. Dr. King's life reminds us that unconditional love will have the final word -- and that only love can drive out hate.''

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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