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MLK Jr. Day virtual events put focus on voting rights

MLK Jr. Day virtual events tough on voting rights and more

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-E. onja Brown said she hopes next's years MLK Jr. events will all be in person.

The President of the MLK JR. Committee of Santa Barbara said committee members decided not to put anyone at risk with a march followed by their usual gathering at The Arlington Theatre during the current health crisis.

E. onja Brown said that is why they chose to share last year's event on TVSB.

"Today should be a day that people reflect on the life of Dr. King, and what he stood for-mainly equal rights and equal treatment for all people, in housing, access to jobs with adequate wages, quality education and a justice system that is fair, said Brown,"We hope that people reflect on those important social justice issues, as well as support voting rights protection."

Voting rights issues are taking center stage in many states and the nation's capitol.

"We need to go forward. Any actions taken to remove voting rights of those that are entitled to vote, is like going backwards in time," said Brown.

The all-volunteer organization is grateful for sponsors including Wells Fargo and the Bower Foundation.

Brown said more volunteers are needed to create videos of this year's essay and poetry winners to share online.

Other virtual events took place in San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties.

NAACP SLO County MLK Rally chose the theme: Is Bigotry a Mental Illness.

Speakers included chapter president Rev. Stephen Vines.

When asked about the significance of the Federal MLK holiday Vines broke into song.

"'What the world needs now is love sweet love, not for some, but everyone,' Vines sang and added, "the real power in this world is love and joy, not hate and violence ,that is what this means to me."

Dr. Iva Jeffries from the MLK Committee of Ventura County said it was the second year in a row that the celebration took place via Zoom.

Moorpark College Professor Perry Martin Jr. served as keynote speaker.

Jeffries said Martin reminded the virtual audience that the struggle for equality still exists today and that we must keep the dream alive.

All of the events make a point of featuring young people in their programs.

"It is so important to be sure that people of all generations understand the importance of Rev. Dr. King's message," said Jeffries.

She hopes people will join other virtual events during Black History Month in February.

They include the annual African American Speech Exposition sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and the debutant ball sponsored by the 20th Century Onyx Club.

More information can be found at the following links:, or

Article Topic Follows: Holidays

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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