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The 28th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., birthday celebration a huge success

MLK1 The 28th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., birthday celebration a huge successThe 28th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., birthday celebration was held on Monday, January 20, 2014, at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, 800 Hobson Way. The theme was “Fifty Years After the March on Washington—The Struggle Continues.”

The keynote speaker was 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.

The day began with a Freedom March from Plaza Park at Fifth and “C” Streets. Community members, elected officials, and spiritual leaders assembled at the park for prayer at 8 a.m. The march began at 8:15 a.m. and proceeded to the Oxnard Performing Arts Center.

The program featured youth speakers, scripture readings, and gospel music by the MLK Youth Choir. The youth choir was directed by Mary Ann Woodard, director of the after school music programs for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

Included in the MLK day was 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. The activity was 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.

Exhibits, refreshments, and vendor booths were also set up in the Oxnard and Ventura Rooms of the Performing Arts Center.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee of Ventura County now has an online presence through its website and social media. The website address is http://www.mlkventuracounty.com. The Facebook page can be found under the heading “Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee of Ventura County.” The Committee’s Twitter address iswww.twitter.com/MLKventura.

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 was an inspirational, informative and enjoyable experience.

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