18th Annual Rekindling the Light of Peace Ceremony Reimagines Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy In Pasadena

Published : Friday, January 5, 2018 | 6:42 AM

MLK Rekindling the light of peace

The Pasadena Human Relations Commission together with the Pasadena MLK Community Coalition presents the “18th Annual Rekindling the Light of Peace Ceremony” Saturday at City Hall to reimagine the civil rights leader’s legacy and to inspire the community to come together leading up to the holiday.

The program will take place in the City Council Chambers located on the second floor of Pasadena City Hall and will feature poetry readings, live music, and speakers include a keynote speech from Congresswoman Judy Chu.

“The program is a vision as to why we must work everyday for peace, harmony, love and celebrating diversity. It is something we all need to work on every single day. We should never forget that and pursue their dream and all the teaching that [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] did for us,” said City of Pasadena Human Relations Commissioner Nat Nehdar.

The opening event leading to the Martin Luther King holiday was organized eighteen years ago by Nehdar who collaborated with the Pasadena MLK Community Coalition.

“I am so happy to be able to join the 18th Annual “Rekindling the Light of Peace” to celebrate his legacy and our commitment to carrying it on,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu.

Chu traveled to Alabama last year to experience and visit the civil rights leader’s places of work and worship which ultimately left her with a new perspective of King’s legacy.

“I gained new appreciation for Rev. King’s courage and strength in using civil disobedience to challenge the legal segregation coming from just steps away. And it inspired me to take up civil disobedience of my own, joining in protest at the U.S. Capitol on behalf of Dreamers. Rev. King’s message was a message of peace and hope, and he called on all of us to act to bend the arc of history towards justice,” said Chu in a statement.

For nearly three decades, the King Coalition has paved the way for people living in the Pasadena, Altadena, and surrounding communities to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive through community and bridge building.

In 1975, before the King Coalition was officially organized, a core group of 10 individuals were intricately involved in the work leading to making Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday.

Over the past 26 years, the King Coalition has sponsored the Martin Luther King Essay Contest encouraging students in the Pasadena Unified School District and local private schools to write essays addressing different aspects of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

“Peace is not just one person,” said Nehdar. “The whole seven billion people must get involved every single day to work on it. We have no control of people of different parts of the world, but as long as we start with our community, that’s where the beginning of a role that we are trying to take might become a reality,” Nehdar added.

The 18th Annual “Rekindling the Light of Peace” is sponsored by the City of Pasadena Human Relations Commission and is supported by the Martin Luther King Community, coalition.

The event kicks off Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the City Council Chambers on the second floor of Pasadena City Hall located at 100 Garfield Ave.

For more information, go to ww5.cityofpasadena.net/commissions/human-relations-commission/.

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