In honor of Black History Month, the Altadena Libraries, Altadena Historical Society, and All Saints Church Racial Justice Ministry are joining forces to present “Celebrating the Pursuit of Peace & Justice” through music and drama on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Altadena Library, located at 600 E. Mariposa Street.
“Celebrating the Pursuit of Peace and Justice” will feature Gerald Rivers as Martin Luther King, Jr., and a drum circle featuring The Peace Players.
Admission is free.
Rivers, a distinguished Shakespearean actor, voiceover artist, and inspirational speaker, will breathe life into the role of Martin Luther King Jr. Rivers said he has been doing the voice of Martin Luther King Jr. for over 40 years, emphasizing the relevance of King’s teachings in today’s world. Blending voice acting, drumming, and Shakespearean acting, he creates a captivating rendition of the iconic figure.
“Shakespeare has a unique ability to capture words, emotions, and ideas that sometimes get lost, and he has the ability to remind us,” Rivers said. “Martin Luther King is known for reading and quoting Shakespeare in some of his more famous speeches, so it’s kind of a natural intersection for me to be able to take beautiful language and present it in a way that is palatable for audiences.”
The event will also showcase The Peace Players, a traditional African drumming group that Rivers leads. The Peace Players started 15 years ago at the Ocean Charter School in Culver City and have evolved into a symbol of unity and positivity. Through their performances, they aim to spread messages of peace, love, and positivity, embodying the event’s theme of social justice and harmony.
Ashley Watts, Assistant Library Director at Altadena Libraries, highlighted the significance of traditional African drumming in promoting peace and justice.
“The drum circle is a way to bring the community together,” Watts said. “Participants in a drum circle must listen to what others are saying with their drums, making space for each other to express themselves. Peace and social justice work are centered on critical listening and making space for others to be heard.”
On the library’s collaboration with Rivers, Watts said the artist “exemplifies what it means to be nonjudgmental.”
“He is an encourager, and his special skill is building confidence in his students,” she said. “Gerald makes sure that his students understand the drum’s relationship to the drummer and to our ancestors.”
The celebration promises to be an immersive experience, uniting the community through music, drama, and a shared commitment to peace and justice.
For more information about Saturday’s event, visit https://www.altadenalibrary.