Posted on June 12, 2022
| 4:24 p.m
Students read poems and essays they have written that reflect King’s quote: “What affects one directly affects us all.”
MLKSB morning program at De La Guerra Plaza, Santa Barbara for MLK Jr. vacation 2019. (Rod Rolle)
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Santa Barbara Committee (MLKSB) will host a virtual festival program on TVSB over the weekend of June 17-20. Each year the committee chooses a theme based on a quote from Dr. King. This year’s quote from a letter he wrote April 14, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama read:
“We are caught in an inescapable web of reciprocity, ties wrapped in a single robe of destiny. What affects one directly affects us all.”
Keynote speaker Guy R. Walker will provide commentary on the MLKSB theme for the year. Due to health reasons, the in-person MLK Jr. vacation was canceled. Now the virtual program will be released on the weekend of June 16th.
Opening the program, Miriam Dance will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black National Anthem. This is followed by E. onja (say it o-wan-ja) Brown, MLKSB Board Chair, who delivers her President’s message. Next, Isaac Garrett, Vice President of the Board, will discuss this year’s program dedicated to two community alumni, William “Bill” Sims and Hal Conklin.
Art Cisneros of Coastal Band, Chumash will offer a blessing that MLK Jr.’s vacation goes well. The lineup of artists and speakers for 2022 includes: local singers Dance, Lanzandria “Lan” Richey and Aleena Ortiz; Spoken Word by Michelle Williams and Camron Williams; Best Essay and Poetry Student Award Winner; Janet Reineck, World Dance for Humanity; and Santa Barbara Community Choir, conducted by Cornelius Florence.
The MLKSB Essay and Poetry Awards program provides opportunities for school children and encourages students to submit papers based on the subject. Those receiving top honors for the 2022 theme will read their posts, which showcase how thoughtful and expressive young residents can be when they hear an equally thoughtful quote from Dr. get King.
Commenting on the partnership with TVSB during the recent challenging times, Brown said: “Without the help of TVSB, our reach in the community would be drastically reduced and missed. Our Board thanks Erik Davis, ED at TVSB for taking the time to schedule our award-winning plays, performers and Mr. Walker’s keynote address as he shares with us how the theme can be applied in our daily lives. “
Walker is President of the Endowment for Youth Community, which offers scholarships to African American students. Walker was the fourth black student to graduate from the Dunn School in Los Olivos in the 1970s. His dedication to giving youth a chance at a good education and applying his three pillars in building the non-profit organization has transformed the community.
“We are fulfilling an important need here and are proud to create this program for the Santa Barbara Martin Luther King Jr. Committee,” Davis said.
One of the most popular parts of the annual MLKSB celebration is the students taking home the grand prizes in poetry and essays and reading their work. There are four groups divided into boys and girls and by age from 6-12 and 13-18.
“Students are recognized by providing opportunities for public readings at community events and on the radio,” Brown said. “We should thank her for her ideas on non-violence and her words promoting the life and legacy of Dr. Honor, applaud and celebrate King.”
Former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, who has served on the MLKSB board since its inception, served as chair of the Essay and Poetry Committee for 13 years and remains an advisor on the program. “Teachers, families and young people have all attended over the years, and it has become a standard of celebration,” she said.
Two dozen entries were selected by the judging panel from student entries from Santa Barbara and the surrounding communities, including Goleta, Isla Vista, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito. Most recently, the area was expanded to include Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Valley. Linda Ryles coordinated the essay and poetry awards in the Santa Ynez Valley schools.
In the 6-12 age group, first place winner Amalia Cruz reads her essay ‘Don’t Hide Your Feelings’ and Ronnie Gloo reads her poem ‘Together’. In the 13-18 age group, top wordsmiths are Julia Weitzman with her essay Fight Feathers and Rooke Juarez with his essay The Struggle for Equality.
To view the winners, visit https://mlksb.org/what-we-do/essay-poetry-contest/.
Thank you to key sponsors for their support: James S. Bower Foundation, Union Bank, First United Methodist Church, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Wells Fargo Bank, UCSB Multi Cultural Center, Healing Justice.