A year of speaking out in memory of Dr. King


This Saturday marks the first anniversary of local residents paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. in Downtown Alameda. In honoring Dr. King, we are reminded of his wisdom and leadership that has sustained — and challenged — us all year.  

As “human billboards” every Saturday at noon, Alamedans have come together to express our commitment to inclusivity in our city, our schools, our neighborhoods, our country and, indeed, our planet. By publicly making these cherished values visible, we channel our anger and sadness into action for a better world. 

As Dr. King taught us, it is about more than racial justice. America, he said, is not about Blacks and Whites. America is about people with rights. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he said. “We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish as fools.”
2017 was a challenging year. All around us we have seen an unleashing of hate and fear that threatens members of our community. We have seen assaults on our environment. We have worried about our access to health care. We have been alarmed by wars and instability around the globe. 

By standing up for justice and the rights of all, we renew our dedication to each other and the values that make us great. We gain confidence to combat the helplessness that undermines our ability to participate as citizens in a democracy. 

We have learned a lot. I wish to thank all who have been supportive and participated in the vigils, including the pedestrians who share their stories, and the drivers who honk and wave. Alameda is a special place. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of this community.

Everyone is encouraged to join us on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Saturday, Jan. 13, from noon to 1 p.m. at the corner of Park Street and Santa Clara Avenue.

Ruth Smiler