Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 11:46 am | Partly Cloudy 62º


On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a Taste for Change

For Santa Barbara's interfaith community, a solemn celebration means more this year on the eve of the Obama inauguration.

Throngs of Santa Barbarans joined Monday's State Street march commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Throngs of Santa Barbarans joined Monday’s State Street march commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Charles Croninger photo)

Santa Barbara’s interfaith community marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday by looking back at the life of the slain civil rights leader and ahead to incoming President Barack Obama.

“It was to keep the message of Martin Luther King alive. All across the country in big towns and small towns were gatherings like this,” said the Rev. Mark Asman, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church and a member of the Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara County.

“Especially given that the fact that the first African-American is going to be inaugurated tomorrow, there’s a particular poignancy and power to the remembrance of Martin Luther King,” he said.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, was first observed in 1986. It marks the birth date of King, who was assassinated in 1968 at age 39.

Article Image
The 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration was as much about looking forward as it was honoring the past. (Charles Croninger photo)
The multicultural, multifaith day began with a rally, rounding up the local community with singing, dancing and a Chumash blessing. A march to the Granada Theatre from De la Guerra Plaza followed, after which participants were invited to listen to speeches and essays from the younger members of the community. The event’s keynote speaker was Khalil Shaheed, jazz musician and youth educator.

The evening event was a more subdued and serious affair at Trinity Church, where the pews were filled with people looking ahead to Tuesday’s historical inauguration of the country’s first black president. “HOPE: A Time of Prayer, Good Wishes, Song & Dance” was an idea that started in the mind of local resident Harriett Burke to celebrate and pray for the incoming administration.

“Everybody said, ‘Whoa, good idea,’” Burke said.

It snowballed into a program meant to offer a variety of thanks, expressions of hope, prayers, poetry and music from different cultures: Chumash Elder Roberta Cordero blessed the space while poets Perie Longo and Sojourner Kincaid Rolle offered their reflections on the Obama era.

Article Image
Gospel singer Michelle Lawyer poured out her heart during Monday’s service at Trinity Episcopal Church. (Sonia Fernandez / Noozhawk)
Music from the Jewish tradition, performed by Alison Zuber of the Community Shul of Montecito and Santa Barbara and Isla Vista Minion; American gospel sung by Michelle Lawyer; and music from the African continent by Malian musician Ali Baba were only some of the offerings. Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, recalled the days when he was Peter Nava, an attempt by his parents and teachers to protect him from immigrant backlash. Galal el Kholi, a board member of the Islamic Center of Southern California, offered a prayer for the nation’s 44th president.

“We ask that you guide this man’s mind and body that he may walk straight in a crooked world,” he said.

Those who want to watch Obama’s inauguration in the company of a couple thousand of their friends may do so without traveling to frigid Washington. The Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St., will open its doors at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday for free broadcast coverage of the inauguration. The formal inauguration ceremony begins in Washington at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time.

Write to [email protected]

By the time it was finished, Trinity Church's candlelight vigil had brought light to the soaring stone sanctuary.
By the time it was finished, Trinity Church’s candlelight vigil had brought light to the soaring stone sanctuary. (Sonia Fernandez / Noozhawk photo)

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >