Berkeley celebrates legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at community gathering

The brochure for Berkeley’s eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. Photo: Mark Coplan

Monday marked the eighth annual community breakfast in Berkeley honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Held at the Berkeley Adult School (unlike in previous years when it was at the now shuttered Hs Lordships), the gathering drew hundreds of people from all parts of the city.

Political leaders included Mayor Jesse Arreguín, City Councilwomen Lori Droste and Rashi Kesarwani, Berkeley School Board members Beatriz Levy-Cutler, Ty Alper, Julie Sinai and Ka’Dijah Brown, Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, Rent Board Commissioner Igor Tregub and City Auditor Jenny Wong. Police Chief Andrew Greenwood and Fire Chief Dave Brannigan also attended, as were city staff.

There was a good turnout for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Monday Jan. 21. Photo: Mark Coplan
L to r: Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Tasha Henneman and School Board member Ka’Dijah Brown. Photo: Mark Coplan

Religious leaders also came together to pay tribute to King — and to remind Berkeley that the city is not yet a just and equal community.

The Rev. Dr. D. Mark Wilson led the crowd in singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and Pastor Michael Smith of the McGee Avenue Baptist Church gave the day’s main talk about working for economic justice.


Other speakers included Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll of the Church by the Side of the Road, Rabbi Chai Levy of Congregation Netivot Shalom, Donald Frazier of Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), Pastor Anthony L. Hughes of St. Paul AME Church, and retired Berkeley Police Department Capt. Cynthia Harris.

The group Young, Gifted and Black performed at the MLK Jr. celebration. Photo: Mark Coplan
Donald Frazier of BOSS talking at the Jan. 21 Martin Luther King Jr.celebration. Photo: Mark Coplan
Guests at the MLK Jr. celebration. Photo: Mark Coplan
Students at the MLK Jr celebration. Photo: Mark Coplan
Councilwoman Lori Droste (right) with Stephanie Allan at the MLK Jr celebration. Photo: Mark Coplan

The crowd clapped enthusiastically for the performance of the youth group Young, Gifted and Black. Community Action awards were presented to the Bread Project, Bend the Arc, Underground Scholars and PICO California.

Three students from Berkeley High and Berkeley Technology Academy received a Next Generation Award, along with $500. They included Ravon Carter, Trinity Harper and Gabriel Montenegro.

The Berkeley Jazz Band played throughout the event.

Berkeleyside was a media sponsor of the celebration.