Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration to be Held January 21 in Santa Monica

Crossroads School’s Derric J. Johnson is Keynote Speaker; MLK Westside Coalition to Recognize SMC’s DREAM Program with Community Light Award

Derric J. Johnson, director of Crossroads School’s Equity and Justice Institute, will be the keynote speaker at the birthday celebration for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 21, at the SGI-USA World Peace Ikeda Auditorium (525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica).

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition will recognize Santa Monica College’s DREAM Program with a Community Light award at the annual celebration of Dr. King’s birthday on Jan. 21 in Santa Monica. Pictured from left to right, SMC employees who are either part of the DREAM Program or were instrumental in its launch: Student Services Specialist Christina Fuller; Director of Academic Affairs Initiatives Edna Chavarry; Director of Special Programs Nick Mata, who oversees the DREAM program; Counselor Sara Nieves-Lucas; and History Professor Marisol Moreno. (Photo Credit: Francine McDougall)

The 34th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration will include a keynote address by Derric Johnson, founding director of the Equity & Justice Institute at Crossroads School, as well as a community involvement fair, an interfaith prayer breakfast, and the annual Martin Luther King Day concert.

January 10, 2019

SANTA MONICA, CA — Santa Monica College (SMC) and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition announces that Derric J. Johnson, the founding director of Crossroads School’s newly created Equity and Justice Institute, will be the keynote speaker at the birthday celebration for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The celebration will be held on Monday, January 21, at the SGI-USA World Peace Ikeda Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.

The free event – one of the largest and most diverse celebrations of its kind in Southern California – is scheduled for 9 a.m. Immediately following the program, a Community Involvement Fair offering refreshments and informational displays by a variety of community organizations will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the nearby Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.

This year’s celebration marks the event’s 34th anniversary and embraces the theme “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.” The multi-ethnic, interfaith program will include inspirational readings, speakers, music, and dance.

The program also features the presentation of education awards to local students and a Community Light Award to the Santa Monica College DREAM Program. The SMC DREAM Program was launched in fall 2018, bringing under one umbrella resources and support services for “DREAMers” (undocumented students, as well as AB540 and DACA recipients). The program offers assistance with financial aid and educational planning, access to special events, workshops and various campus programs including, most recently, several DACA renewal assistance workshops. SMC also has an Undocumented Ally Program, for employees who want to be familiar with laws and services related to DREAMers; to date, more than 210 employees have taken the voluntary training.

The January 21 event is presented by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition, a nonprofit coalition whose mission is consistent with King's legacy. Event co-sponsors are the City of Santa Monica; SGI-USA; Santa Monica College; the SMC Associates; the RAND Corporation; Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows; CityTV-Santa Monica; Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council; and a number of other organizations, individuals, and corporate contributors.

Keynote speaker Derric Johnson has extensive experience in establishing and implementing youth-focused programs, including his work at the Alliance for Children’s Rights, the Community Oriented Correctional Health Services in Oakland, as senior deputy for public safety and justice in the Office of County Board Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and during his partnership with the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles.

In his new position as Equity and Justice Institute director, Johnson will oversee development of a groundbreaking K-12 social justice curriculum. He will also seek to find meaningful solutions to some of the challenges facing communities by creating partnerships with nonprofit organizations, supporting student and schoolwide community activism, and incubating new initiatives that will seek to have a positive impact locally, nationally, and internationally.

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

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