MLK panel will tackle past, current themes


“Injustice  Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere” is the theme of Culver City’s 10th annual celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which will be held at the Culver City Senior Center on Saturday, Jan.17. The activities begin at 11 a.m. and will include a showing of the film “Freedom Summer,” directed by filmmaker Stanley Earl Nelson, Jr.

In addition, there will be a panel discussion on Dr. King’s legacy of confronting and speaking out against injustices and advocating on behalf of union workers and the poor as well as the current state of the criminal justice system and how it pertains the legacy of the slain civil rights icon.

Daniel Wayne Lee, the vice chair of the Culver City Martin Luther King Committee, said he feels the panel represents a cross-section of people with diverse but similar experiences on the topic of racial and economic injustice.

“We tried to have activism with links to the past and we also tried to reflect broader perspectives but that were L.A. focused,” explained Lee, a Culver City resident and a social welfare graduate student at UCLA.

Members of the panel will be community activist Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi, Los Angeles County prosecutor Robert Grace, former Los Angeles City Councilman and Freedom Rider Robert C. Farrell and Funmilola Fagbamila, a graduate student of African-American studies at UCLA.

The committee also wanted panelists who could offer opinions on contemporary matters.

“[Choosing the theme] was more of a reflection of what’s been happening [to unarmed African-Americans] in places like Ferguson [Mo], New York and Cleveland. We had a lot of discussions about how [King] would show up for other people. It wasn’t uncommon for him to show up for union workers. He was in Memphis supporting sanitation workers when he was assassinated,” Lee noted.

Lee was referring to the deaths in Ferguson, New York and Cleveland at the hands of police officers, who were shot to death in confrontations with police or in the case of Eric Garner in New York died after he was placed in an illegal chokehold. .

“Over the past decade, the city has looked forward to hosting this annual community -led celebration to honor the work of Dr. King. Culver City values diversity and is fortunate to be able to bring people together for this important educational, social, and cultural program,” said Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells.

Other activities will include a rendition of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” by actor Gerald C. Rivers and performance by 7th and 8th grader students from Ocean Charter School in Los Angeles, who will play authentic djembe drums from West Africa as a tribute to King.

The Culver City Senior Center is located at 4095 Overland Ave. in Culver City. The event is free and open to the public.

MLK panel will tackle past, current themes