Santa Cruz to host MLK celebrations

SANTA CRUZ — More than a half-century ago, demonstrators marching for racial equality in Selma, Ala. were met with armed resistance from the local police department.

American society has shifted considerably since then.

On Saturday, the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCN) and the Santa Cruz County Branch of the NAACP are hosting the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Day.

The event will offer food, art, music and performances led by young people. The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St.

Then, from 7-9 p.m. the RCN will host a Gospel Celebration, a performance of the music that played an important role in the civil rights movement. Tickets are $20 at the door.

On Monday, the City of Santa Cruz will hold its Martin Luther King march, an event co-hosted by the city’s NAACP chapter and its police department.

“We gather not to celebrate the end of injustice, but as a sign of hope that we can unite around common goals of fair treatment and universal human dignity,” Santa Cruz Police Chief Andrew Mills said in an opinion piece in this newspaper.

The march begins at 10 a.m. at Pacific Avenue and Cathcart Street and ends on Cooper Street. After the march, participants will gather for speeches and family-friendly activities. Marchers can begin gathering at 9 a.m.

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