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Santa Monica Celebrates the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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By Lookout Staff

January 8, 2018 -- Santa Monica will host two events to celebrate the life of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month -- the screening of a documentary on Thursday and the 33rd annual celebration of his birth next Monday.

"Still. . . Fighting for the Dream: A Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration" will be held Thursday at the Santa Monica Public Library with an opening reception at 6 p.m.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The reception will be followed by a 6:30 screening of the Perception Group’s "Still. . . Fighting for the Dream," which focuses "on the struggle for voting rights as told through the story of freedom fighter Fannie Lou Hamer, and how that struggle continues today," event organizers said.

Following the screening, former Santa Monica Mayor Nat Trives will lead a discussion with film director Carla Dupree, Freedom Riders and former L.A. City Councilmembers Robert Farrell and Richard Tuttle, Santa Monica League of Women Voiers President Barbara Inatsugu and Perception Group writer Larry Robinson.

Co-sponsored by the Santa Monica Public Library and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition, the event in the Main Library’s Auditorium is free, but seating is limited and on a first arrival basis.

On Monday, Dr. Tommie C. Smith, a gold medalist at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, will be the keynote speaker at King's annual celebration, titled “Never Lose Hope: Unity Wins,” which will be held at 9 a.m. at the SGI-USA World Peace Ikeda Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Boulevard.

After winning the the 200-meter sprint, Smith, along with bronze medalist John Carlos, raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the national anthem at the medal ceremony in solidarity with the Black Freedom Movement.
Tommie Smith at 1968 OlympicsTommie Smith (center) at 1968 Olympics (Photo courtesy of

"His courageous gesture propelled him into yet another spotlight as a human rights spokesperson, activist and symbol of African American pride," event organizers said.

Smith, who is the only man in the history of track and field to hold 11 world records simultaneously, taught at SMC for 27 years before retiring in 2005, organizers said.

Smith received an honorary doctorate degree (LHD) from San Jose State University and is the recipient of numerous awards from colleges, universities, numerous Halls of Fame and municipal governments in both the United States and abroad.

He is included in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Billed as "one of the largest and most diverse celebrations of its kind in Southern California," the event , which starts at 9 a.m., includes inspirational readings, speakers, music and Education Awards.

It will be followed by a Community Involvement Fair at the Grand Pavilion of St. Monica’s Church, 701 California Avenue, that offers refreshments and informational displays by a variety of community organizations.

Attendees are invited to bring a new pair of socks to donate to The People Concern, the city's largest homeless services agency (

The event is co-sponsored by Santa Monica College (SMC) and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition.

For more information about these and other related special events, please call (818) 207-3934 or (310) 434-4100.


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