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14th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Observance is All Online in 2021

January 18 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm


Santa Barbara 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr Day Observance Virtual Program


This years theme is:

The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy” 

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 18, 2021, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm


Santa Barbara, CA – The Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Santa Barbarapresents its 14th annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s Birthday Holiday. This year, the Committee will present a two-hour virtual program, live-streamed on mlksb.organd on the MLKCommitteeSB Facebook pageon January 18 beginning at 11:00 am through 1 pm. 

This year, due to restrictions on public gatherings, the committee has created a virtual program featuring ceremonial and civic presentations as well as inspirational messages from members of the community. Top winners in our Essay and Poetry contest will read their work. Winners are listed at the end of the release.


Dr. Anna Everett and Rev. Richard A. Lawrence are the featured speakers.  Dr. Everett, an emeritus professor of UCSB, was recently elected to the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees and also serves on the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women. She holds leadership positions in a number of organizations advocating for marginalized groups.

Rev. Richard A Lawrence of San Diego is a retired United Methodist clergyman whose ministry is committed to social justice, Rev. Lawrence was active in the civil rights movement and knew Dr. King personally. In 1965, Rev. Lawrence took an interracial group of students from Chicago to participate in the Selma to Montgomery march. Later when Dr. King came to Chicago, Rev. Lawrence helped him to organize an anti-discrimination demonstration there.  He has contributed leadership to dozens of community organizations including: Operation Breadbasket (PUSH), Black United Funds in Chicago and NYC. 

The 2021 Virtual Program will include encore music and dance performances from previous years.  Among those being featured include: the combined choirs of Bnai Brith Choir and Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara Choir, directed by the late Ken Ryals,  World Dance for Humanity, Dance Institute of Santa Barbara, Inner Light Gospel Choir and Coastal West Community Choir, are among those being showcased. The program will feature Over the Years, a series of photo montages portraying Martin Luther King Events from 2008 – 2020.

The Martin Luther King, Jr 2021 Essay and Poetry Contest

Each year,  MLKSB in partnership with Santa Barbaras Anti-Defamation League sponsors an Essay and Poetry Competition open to students ages 6-18. Submissions are received from students throughout the South Coast including Carpinteria and the Santa Ynez Valley.  A total $1000 in cash. scholarships are awarded.  1st place winners read their work as a part of the MLK Day event. 

2021 Essay and Poetry Winners

Age 6-12 Essays:

First Place:

“No More Silence” by Noah Slotnick-Lastrico, 12, La Colina Junior High

Second Place:

“What Is Right” by Ashley Hansen, 12, La Colina Junior High

Third Place:

“Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Lillian Richardson, 9, Marymount School

Honorable Mention:

“Why It Is Important To Speak Up” by James Steel, 6th Grade, Foothill Elementary School

Age 6-12 Poems

First Place:

“The Journey to Freedom” by Elena Beckman, 10, Knox School

Second Place:

“This Is Us” by Zoe Rogers, 11, Peabody Charter School of S.B

Third Place (tie): 2 third place winners

“When Happiness Goes Down” by Sam Kasting, 7, Roosevelt Elementary School AND

“Say Their Names” by Jonah Archer, 5th Grade, Foothill Elementary School

Age 13-18 Essays:

First Place:

“How Should One’s Morals Be Defined?” by Kamea Boucher, 12th Grade, Carpinteria High School  (Bow-cher)

Second Place:

“The Importance of Speaking Up for Your Ideals” by Carolina Peace, 13, Marymount School

Third Place:

“What Can Make You A Better Person?” by Hannia Hernandez, 12th Grade, Carpinteria High School

Age 13-18 Poems:

First Place:

“Betrayal, Silence” by Kundai Chikowero, 12th Grade, Dos Pueblos H.S.

Second Place:

“Solidarity” by Sarah Dent, 10th Grade, Dos Pueblos H.S.

Third Place:

“Our Voices Are Heard” by Miles Souza, 17, Carpinteria H.S.

Honorable Mentions:

“I Am What I Am” by Fatima Lopez, 17, San Marcos H.S.

“Martin Luther King Was An Amazing Man” by Ember Reiter, 13, Marymount School

“Rise Up” by Ravi Pandya, 13, 8th Grade, Marymount School


January 18
11:00 am - 1:00 pm


Martin Luther King Jr Committee of Santa Barbara
805-284 4844


Online Event
Santa Barbara, 93101 United States
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