Event began as a protest in 1989
Co-sponsored by St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, El Cerrito Human Relations Commission and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District
By Willie Robinson, President, NAACP Richmond Branch
The City of El Cerrito invites all of its residents and surrounding cities in the Bay Area, to join in its 33rd Annual Community Celebration, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday January 17, 2022.
“Keeping the Dream Alive – Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.
This event is free and all ages are welcome.
Event Chairperson, Patricia Durham said “this peaceful protest began in 1989 on the back streets of El Cerrito because of the City’s refusal to acknowledge King’s birthday as a federal holiday. Members of St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) (the city’s only African-American church), and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, in true Dr. King style, took to the streets. The City eventually came around and acknowledged the peaceful and powerful works of Dr. King.”
“El Cerrito’s birthday celebration of MLK is one of the longest-standing parade and rally in the Bay Area,” she added.
Because of the global pandemic, this is the second year the city will have a car parade. Participants will meet at 9 am at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station (in the parking lot of Key Blvd. and Knott Ave.). At 10 am, the parade will caravan down San Pablo Avenue to the El Cerrito Plaza BART station and at 11 am the rally will begin. To ensure everyone enjoy the parade safely, all CDC guidelines will be enforced. Masks and social distancing are required.
“Keeping the dream alive even during a pandemic is a necessity,” said Durham. “We are fighting for our democracy and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s taught us that we need each other to embrace our new normals of survival.”
“The City is expecting more than 100 cars, so we encourage everyone to decorate your vehicles so that yours’ stand out the best,” she noted. “Entertainment will be provided by the Japanese American Citizen League, the Black Cowboy Association, Ujima Lodge #35, the Mardi Gras Gumbo Band, Mighty High Drill Team, Smooth Illusions Band, and El Cerrito’s Poet Laureate, Ms. Eevelyn Janean Mitchell, among other talents.”
The MC of this illustrious event will be Jeffery Wright, President of the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce. The event’s keynote speaker is Diana Becton, the first female African-American to be elected District Attorney in the history of Contra Costa County.
The celebration is sponsored by its founders, St. Peter CME Church and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, as well as the El Cerrito Human Relations Commission, and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.
For more information, contact Patricia Durham at (510) 234-2518.
To support this event — make your check payable to Alabaster Box Collectives (Tax ID 86-1334787). Mail To: St. Peter CME Church, 5324 Cypress Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530