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"Promises of Democracy" Theme of MLK Day in Santa Monica

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

January 13, 2020 -- Amanda Gorman, the nation's first youth poet laureate, will be the keynote speaker at Santa Monica's Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration Monday.

The theme for the 35th annual celebration -- which takes place at 9 a.m. at the SGI-USA World Peace Ikeda Auditorium at 525 Wilshire Boulevard -- is “now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,” event organizers said.

The free event is one of the largest and most diverse celebrations of its kind in Southern California.

The multi-ethnic, interfaith program presented by The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition features inspirational readings, speakers, music and dance.

The program also features the presentation of education awards to local students and a Community Light Award to Ruby’s House 1-6 of Chosen Gospel Recovery Inc.

The company offers "collaborative services and support to promote the wellbeing and economic self-sufficiency of chronically homeless families and individuals," organizers said.

The program is followed by a Community Involvement Fair from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the nearby Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows.

The fair offers refreshments and informational displays by a variety of community organizations, organizers said.

Keynote speaker Gorman was heralded as “the next great figure in American poetry” when she was chosen to fill the newly created laureate post in 2017, event organizers said.

A graduate of New Roads School in Santa Monica, Gorman is currently a senior majoring in sociology and recently signed a two-book deal with Viking, a division of Penguin Random House.

Her first poetry collection, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough,” was published in 2015.

Event sponsors include the City of Santa Monica, SGI-USA, Santa Monica College Associates, Santa Monica College, RAND Corporation, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council, CityTV-Santa Monica.

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