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Hundreds commemorate late local trailblazer Sojourner Kincaid Rolle on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—Community members say it’s no accident that the memorial of Sojourner Kincaid Rolle falls on the same day our country is commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Like, King, Kincaid Rolle was a trailblazer in her own right.

“She'd often say that people would think of her just as a social activist where she was, but she was also a person who was interested in the environment and how important that was to the world and to Santa Barbara. So I think she would want people to say, okay, she she had everyone's concerns in her heart,” said photojournalist and Sojourner’s husband Rod Rolle.

The community activist, writer, and former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate made a lasting impact in Santa Barbara, empowering kids to use their minds and voice to reflect and write.

Perhaps one of her most poignant works is her children’s book” Free At Last,” an illustrated Juneteenth poem that gets kids to think about what it means to be truly free.

“ I think her book, “Free at Last”… I think that book will stand the test of time. You know, young people will be reading that book to their children or grandchildren, you know… That book will have a life way beyond all of us. And I think she (Kincaid Rolle) will really appreciate that.”
Those commemorating MLK Day and remembering Kincaid Rolle say that the weight of civil rights and advocacy for our fellow human doesn't just lie on the shoulder of one person. Rather, it’s a joint responsibility.

“When you speak up intentionally about true equity, there's a risk here, right? You have to be ready to lose something. This is not a moment. This is a movement, a constant movement until America does what's right,” said Charlotte Gullap-Moore, who has her doctorate in nursing practice.

Sojourner Rolle passed away in November of 2023 at the age of 80.

She leaves behind a lasting impact on the Santa Barbara community.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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