Our View

Paying tribute to King

By From page A10 | January 19, 2014

The issue: From a freedom march to two planting parties, we remember slain civil rights leader

In many communities across this great nation, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is just a day off from school and work. Fortunately, in Davis, it is much more.

THANKS TO THE city of Davis Human Relations Commission, a local group that raises money for scholarships in King’s name, two local environmental organizations and two choirs, Davis residents will have a plethora of choices Monday for celebrating the great civil rights leader and his legacy.

In case you missed our previews last week, here’s the scoop:

* The city of Davis’ free MLK celebration will begin at 11 a.m. at the Varsity Theatre, 616 Second St., and will feature a keynote speech from Dana Vickers Shelley, director of public affairs for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Shelley will discuss policies that seek to find justice for the most vulnerable members of society.

In addition, a panel of community members, led by Superintendent Winfred Roberson, will discuss access to education for minority youths. Dick Holdstock and the Davis Freedom Singers will play classic peace and freedom songs, then lead attendees on a march through downtown Davis.

* Families can get outdoors and enjoy the unseasonably warm winter by participating in two local planting projects organized as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. To pay tribute to King’s heroic public service, Congress designated his birthday holiday as a “day on, not a day off.”

The Putah Creek Council invites volunteers to help plant native trees and shrubs along the North Davis Covell irrigation channel from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The plants are designed to provide wildlife habitat to birds and butterflies, improve water quality and beautify the greenway.

For more information or to sign up, visit www.putahcreekcouncil.org or call 530-795-3006.

A BIT FARTHER afield, volunteers also are invited to help remove invasive plants and do some planting around the Pope Creek Bridge at Lake Berryessa, in a project organized by Woodland-based Tuleyome. The work will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

So far, volunteers have helped Tuleyome plant oak and pine trees from acorns and seedlings, along with silver lupine, toyon, yerba santa, coyote brush and more than 1,500 plugs of native bunchgrass.

To sign up, visit www.tuleyome.org or contact Charlotte Orr at [email protected].

* In the evening, locals have two ways to remember King. The 11th annual MLK Scholarship Fund award dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the St. James Community Center, 1275 B St. Amari Lee of Davis High School and Robin Amjad of Pioneer High School will receive scholarships, and Davis resident Mary Anne Kirsch will receive the Nelson Mandela World Peace Award.

Actor Felix Justice will play the role of King and share the civil rights leader’s philosophical basis for nonviolent resistance to oppression.

Tickets are $50 per person and may be reserved by calling 530-753-6148.

AT ANOTHER LOCAL church — the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road, attendees will enjoy an event called “Rhythm of Love,” featuring the Free Range Singers and the Unitarian Universalist Sparks Choir.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Monday; a donation of $5 to $15 will be requested at the door. All proceeds will go to the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network to aid its support of migrant worker families and its advocacy for fair immigration policies.

We have a feeling that King would be proud of Davis and its commitment to the ideals for which he stood. We certainly are.

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