Community Celebrates King’s Legacy

Jenya Cassidy    Rasheed Shabazz, center, with megaphone, led the 39th annual march during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Alameda.

The Alameda Race Violence Task Force and the Alameda NAACP Organizing Committee chose “Now is the Time” as the theme for last Monday’s 39th annual Martin Luther King Service Day celebration. Marchers gathered at noon at Haight Elementary School, where a movement is afoot to rename the school to better suit modern-day values. 

Many in the community feel that the school’s present-day namesake, Henry Huntly Haight, who served as the governor of California from 1868 to 1872 and lived in Alameda, does not represent those values. (“Elementary School Renaming in Works,” Dec. 21). 

The march’s organizers point to King’s concept of the “Beloved Community.” They wanted to use his day to promote a “critical mass of people committed to non-violent methods to bring about a world without poverty, hunger and homelessness — a world where everyone belongs.”

The marchers chanted, “Two, four, six, eight, only love can conquer hate,” on the way to City Hall.
When the march reached its destination, Mari Perez-Ruiz challenged those in attendance to live up to King’s ideas. “We need to actively work to honor Dr. King on housing policy,” she said.