By Chris Frost
Oxnard— The Oxnard City Council took a couple of minutes out of its Jan. 7 meeting agenda to declare Jan. 20 as Dr. Martin Luther King Day in Oxnard.
Accepting the award was the Ventura County Martin Luther King Committee, which is a volunteer group that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a Freedom March and ceremony each year.
The original March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place on Aug. 28, 1963, and was highlighted by Dr. King, making his "I have a dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The speech called for the end of racism in the United States, and one of the largest rallies for human rights in the country.
Committee Chairwoman Larita Montgomery spoke on behalf of the committee and introduced the committee members who joined her on the dais.
Montgomery is proud to say that her committee is celebrating its 34th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King.
"We're happy that the mayor and council invited us this evening," she said. "We're also happy that we're having our program for the area. This is not just for Oxnard; this is for Ventura County."
The committee has endured some hiccups, she said, but God is willing, and they are going to make it happen.
"The performance usually happens at the Performing Arts Center for the past 33 years, but this year that's not happening," she said. "Unfortunately, we have to make a little deviation, but we're praying that it comes back to us. We know that's where the city wants to be."
The Dr. Martin Luther King ceremony will be at the Oxnard Police Athletic League (PAL) gymnasium, located at 350 South K St,
"We're thankful to all those who provided that area to us, as well," Montgomery said. "The program will be held on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, and we'll begin with the Freedom March at Plaza Park. We'll meet there at 8. a.m., and then we'll march down to the Oxnard PAL Gymnasium."
Mayor Tim Flynn and other elected officials will attend the Freedom March, Montgomery said, and she wants everyone to come and join in the celebration.
"Especially that new city manager," she said. "I haven't met you yet. You've got to come and see my program."
Flynn said the Martin Luther King Day event is an inspirational event worth attending.
"These volunteers spend a whole year organizing, and you see that when you attend the event," he said.
The crowd gave the committee a warm and appreciative hand.