Local King Day activities abound

Merdies Hayes | 1/9/2014, midnight

Carson will remember Martin Luther King Jr. with a free tribute show. Set at 6 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center, 801 E. Carson St. Entertainment will include the troupe Sophisticated Dance, the Unified Choir, Praise Dance and Carson’s Youth Enrichment Program. For more information, call (310) 835-0212.

In Watts, the King Day Celebration returns after a three-year absence. Rev. Reginald A. Pope of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church will head the second anniversary of the Watts celebration of King’s legacy. Music and refreshments will be offered. The Martin Luther King Shopping Center at 103rd Street and Compton Avenue has the city’s sole monument to King, sculpted by artist Charles Dickson and unveiled in January 1992. It is an eight-foot by 10-foot concrete wedge suggesting a pulpit and bearing the full text of King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” A cast iron hand releasing a bird—a symbol of freedom—extends upward from the wedge. For more information, call (310) 810-4752.

LA Works will conduct its own day of service from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 20 at Hillcrest Drive Elementary School, 4041 Hillcrest Dr., Los Angeles. Volunteers will help spruce up the campus by painting exterior walls, landscaping and helping sow the campus vegetable garden. For details, call LA Works at (323) 224-6510.

L.A. Councilmember Bernard Parks (8th District) will host a “Martin Luther King Jr. Gospel Fest” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 20 at Vernon Avenue and 48th Street. Admission is free. Details: (213) 485-7616.

The SCLC of Southern California will host from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 14 “A Unity Dialogue. The Dream Continues” at West Angeles Performing Arts Center, 3048 S. Crenshaw Blvd. Also, an interfaith prayer breakfast will take place on Jan. 17 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Individual tickets are $25, or $250 for a table of 10. Details: (213) 268-4820. This church has special significance to the King Day celebrations because its former pastor is Rev. James Lawson, a close confidant of King and organizer of the late-50s “student sit-ins” throughout the South.

In the Antelope Valley, Lancaster will conduct “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,” a day of service set Jan. 18. For the two weeks surrounding the King holiday, various community organizations will help clean and restore projects within the city. Volunteers are needed. For details, call (661) 723-6077.

Palmdale continues its annual “Season of Service” on Jan. 25 with a day-long cleanup and restoration project at Avenue S and 70th Street East. Participants must be 12 years and older. For more information, call (661) 267-5100.

A “day of service” has been the charge of Americans since the holiday was signed into law. King once said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” The MLK Day of service is part of United We Serve, the President’s call-to-service initiative. It asks Americans from all walks of life to work together year-round to provide solutions to the nation’s most pressing problems.