The 32nd annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., birthday celebration will be held on Monday, January 15, 2018, at 9 a.m. in the Oxnard Room of the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, 800 Hobson Way. This year’s theme is “We Must Lift Our Voices, Reclaim Our Time and Win With Unity”. Admission includes refreshments, and entry to the celebration and vendor exhibits.
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, Professor of African American Studies and Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. At UCLA she is also the Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Ralph J. Bunche Center for Research in African American Studies and Vice Chair of the Department of African American Studies. She has been a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University and at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, and she writes and teaches on race and racism, cultural politics, and freedom struggles. Her first book, entitled Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles was published with the University of California Press in 2013 and is a history of civil rights and spatial struggles among Black and Brown freedom seekers in LA from 1940-2010.
Johnson’s second book, co-edited with Alex Lubin, was released by Verso Press in August 2017, is titled Futures of Black Radicalism. With endorsements by Cornel West and Harry Belafonte, the book was released to wide acclaim, and featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and the Society for U.S. Intellectual History. She is currently writing a book under contract with the University of North Carolina Press, scheduled for release next year, titled Let’s Get Free: Artists on Activism in the 21st Century. Johnson is President of the Board of the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), and an advisory board member for the Goldin Institute and the Rosenberg Fund for Children. Her proudest achievement is being a mother to her now 6-year old daughter, and being a part of the circle of friends and family that constitute the core of her life.
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 then 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 musical selections by the MLK Community Choir directed by Dr. Angela Timmons.
Tickets are also available for purchase direct from MLK Committee members and a limited number may be available on the day of the event at Plaza Park and at the entrance to the event (cash or check).