SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Hundreds of San Diegans honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Monday by attending events in his honor, including breakfasts and community cleanup projects.
The theme of the 23rd annual All People's Breakfast at the San Diego Convention Center was the power of social media, and how it can be harnessed by activists.
"They have more power at their fingertips to mobilize thousands and millions of people for social change than any (previous) social change movement," said Jehmu Greene, president of the Women's Media Center.
The 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast was held at the Joe & Vi Jacob Center in Valencia Park.
A number of organizations combined to pick up trash in San Diego's Rolando, Chollas Creek, San Carlos and Tierrasanta neighborhoods.
About 500 UC San Diego students and employees helped revitalize the Sherman Heights Community Center by painting tables and benches, pulling weeds and creating a garden area.
University of San Diego students and employees repainted the Bayside Community Center in Linda Vista and worked on a mural.
"Dr. King worked to create a just world through non-violent collective action," said Carlton Floyd, associate provost and co-director of USD's Center for Inclusion and Diversity. "Dr. King led by example, and that example encouraged many others to carry the burdens he chose to carry with him. Simply put, Dr. King was not alone."
About 200 Kaiser Permanente employees spent the day at the San Diego Food Bank sorting and bagging food for distribution to the needy.
"Given the current state of our economy, the demand at our local food banks is increasing and the need for volunteers at local nonprofits, shelters, schools, hospitals and senior centers throughout our community has never been greater," said Mary Ann Barnes, KP's senior vice president and executive director in San Diego.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1986 under a law signed by then-President Ronald Reagan. King and George Washington are the only Americans with federal holidays celebrating their birth.
King's activism in marches and speeches, most famously the "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963, helped foster the passage of civil rights laws and end segregation.
In 1964, at the age of 35, King became the youngest person up to that time to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., at the age of 39.