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28th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observance to be Held in Oxnard

Dr. Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly

Dr. Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly

The 28th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., birthday celebration will be held on Monday, January 20, 2014, at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, 800 Hobson Way. The theme is “Fifty Years After the March on Washington—The Struggle Continues.”
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly, historian and author of numerous articles and book chapters related to African American leadership and identity during the 19th and 20th centuries. Her most recent book, By the Least Bit of Blood: the Allure of Blackness among Mixed-Race Americans, 1862-1919, will be released in 2014. With 20 years of teaching experience, she currently teaches history and political science at the University of La Verne, Pt. Mugu Campus.

On Monday, January 20, 2014, the day will begin with a Freedom March from Plaza Park at Fifth and “C” Streets.  Community members, elected officials, and spiritual leaders will assemble at the park for prayer at 8 a.m.; the march will begin at 8:15 a.m. and proceed to the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. Transportation is available to Plaza Park from the Performing Arts Center parking lot for the march only.

The program will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature youth speakers, scripture readings, and gospel music by the MLK Youth Choir. The youth choir will be directed by Mrs. Mary Ann Woodard, Director of the after school music programs for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme. The choir participation is open to all children, young adults, choir directors, and musicians. Rehearsals will be held on Saturdays, January 11 and 18, 2014, 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Music Room of the Boys and Girls Club. The club is located at 1900 W. 5th Street in Oxnard. Mrs. Woodard may be contacted or at (805) 236-5519.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Annual Commemorative March, preparing to walk down Fifth Street to the Performing Arts Center during a previous Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., birthday celebration. (file photo)

Included in the MLK day will be an activity created to motivate low-income and first generation middle and high school students in the Ventura County area through an educational resource fair, college readiness mini-workshops, and a community dialogue during the MLK Day of Service beginning at 12 noon. The activity is being sponsored by the CEDC, which is a private non-profit community development corporation that provides comprehensive housing services through a community building approach in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

This activity builds on the work CEDC has carried out to engage young people in planning early to attain higher education and getting informed about programs available in the community and local institutions to make their educational dreams into a reality. Parents are also encouraged to participate along with their children, and there is no charge for the workshops and resource fair.

Tickets for the program are $7 and are available at the Performing Arts Center box office (486-2424) or from any member of the MLK, Jr., Committee. PAC box office hours are Monday thru Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Committee now has an online presence through its website and social media. The website address is The Facebook page can be found under the heading “Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee of Ventura County.” For information about the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day observance, there is also a Facebook event page titled “Martin Luther King Jr. Day—28th Annual Ventura County Observance.” The Committee’s Twitter address

Exhibits, refreshments, and vendor booths will be set up in the Oxnard and Ventura Rooms of the Performing Arts Center. For information or vendor booth applications, please call Willie Claytor at (805) 985-3387.

From its inception in 1986, the MLK observance program has attempted to spotlight the positive achievements and accomplishments of the youth of our community.  In previous years, the Monday program has drawn approximately 800 people from throughout Ventura County and Santa Barbara. It was necessary to cancel the program only once, on January 17, 1994, due to an earthquake. As in previous years, this year’s program promises to be an inspirational, informative, and enjoyable experience; and we invite everyone to be a part of the activities and celebration of Rev. Dr. King’s life and legacy.

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