The Martin Luther King Community Coalition (MLK Coalition) in collaboration with the Pasadena Uniﬁed School District (PUSD) and the City of Pasadena presented its annual Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration on Monday, January 15, 2018.
This year’s theme for the event was “Making a Dream Become a Reality.” Student winners from the essay and art contests read their essays and presented their winning artwork to an audience of hundreds of guests. City council ofﬁcials, PUSD representatives, Pasadena Tournament of Roses presidents, and community leaders were in attendance to congratulate the students and present them with certiﬁcates, trophies, and a cash prize.
Guests included U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu; Senator Anthony Portantino; Mayor Terry Tornek; Assemblyman Chris Holden; Councilman Tyrone Hampton; Councilman John Kennedy; Justin Jones from the City of Pasadena’s Human Relations Commission; and Rev. Dr. James E. Stevenson, Pastor of Scott United Methodist Church. Nat Nehdar, the author of “Rekindling the Light of Peace,” was the Master of Ceremonies.
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses, a major sponsor of the event, was represented by the members of the Executive Committee. Gerald Freeny, Executive Vice President, and incoming 2019 president (ﬁrst African American Tournament of Roses president)
The keynote speaker was Shimica Gaskins, Esq., Executive Director of Marian Wright Edelman’s Children’s Defense Fund–California. She gave a motivational talk to the audience and to the students.
Essay contest submissions were judged in the categories of theme development. All of the winning essays and art will be on the MLK Community Coalition’s website. Also, the original pieces of student art work will be on display at the Pasadena Central Library for the month of February.
The annual MLK Celebration is presented in association with the Pasadena Uniﬁ ed School District, City of Pasadena, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Aspires West Pasadena, Scott United Methodist Church, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority-Pasadena Chapter. For more information about the Martin Luther King Coalition, visit their website at pasadenamlk.org.