MLK Day Celebration 2014

Celebrate MLKOn Monday, January 20, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at Robinson Park, the Martin Luther King Community Coalition, Pasadena Unified School District, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, and Aspires West of Pasadena in conjunction with the city of Pasadena, National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., Gamma Lambda chapter presents the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday breakfast and celebration.  Families, friends, community members, local and state political leaders will be in attendance as student winners are announced and presented with awards for their participation in the MLK Community Coalition Essay and Art Contest.

The day is filled with music, speakers, dancers, food, and more.  See the agenda below for an overview of the day:

  • 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.:  “Freedom March” Documentary and Breakfast
  • 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.:  King Holiday Celebration and Program
  • 12:30 p.m.:  Lunch

Robinson Park is located at 1081 North Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena, California.  Send an email to for more information.

A Day On – Not Off

landscaping2For over 10 years now, on the Saturday before the official MLK Day of Service, it is our tradition to provide a local school with volunteers to provide landscaping and campus beautification services.  Students and their families, along with members from the surrounding communities all come out to work together toward a common cause.  This year is no different.  On Saturday, January 18, 2014 from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., we will plant flowers and do several maintenance tasks at Franklin Elementary School located at 527 W. Ventura Street in Altadena, California.

Senior pastor Billie Keller from New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church will be the keynote speaker, and afterwards, we will enjoy a nice lunch and entertainment from the students from Franklin.  This is a cooperation between Martin Luther King Community Coalition and Pasadena Unified School District and Ms. Caroline Bermudez, the school principal of Franklin.

Much gratitude goes out to longtime project coordinators Al Bailey and Joan Reid, and all of the members of the Martin Luther King Coalition.  For more information, call Mr. Bailey at (626) 355-1583.

Rekindling the Light

rekindlingSaturday, January 11, 2014 at 10 a.m., the Pasadena Human Relations Committee held their 13th Annual “Rekindling the Light of Peace” program inside the City Council Chambers of Pasadena City Hall. It is the opening event leading to the Martin Luther King holiday.

UC Berkeley student senator, John Muir High School alumnus and former Altadena NAACP Youth Council President Destiny Iwuoma was the keynote speaker.  Iwuoma paralleled Dr. King’s struggle for racial and economic justice in the 1960s with contemporary issues of educational access, income inequality and the prison industrial complex.

The Martin Luther King Community Coalition, which began its relationship with the Pasadena Human Relations Commission thirteen years ago, for the city’s very first “Rekindling the Light of Peace” program, was also represented by Dr. Jacqueline Jacobs who shared information about the Coalition’s upcoming annual events celebrating MLK Day 2014.

Also part of the program was columnist, broadcaster, and motivational speaker Cameron Turner and Good Shepard Church Choir of Pasadena.

Announcing the 2013 MLK Essay and Art Finalists and Winners!

Blue Ribbon Finalists Image2And the winners areLast night the Martin Luther King Essay Contest finalists and Art Contest winners came out for a public reading of their essays and display of their art.  Students were asked to respond to and interpret this year’s theme through words and art:  “Explain how Dr. King dedicated his life so others may enjoy liberties he was denied. Considering his unselfish legacy, what are you doing to leave our culture in a better position for those who come after you?”  Hundreds of entries were submitted; and last night, the finalists and their families came out to share their work publicly.

Friends, family, and community members were awestruck by the students’OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA presentations and illustrations.  They were equally inspired by their awareness and articulation of American history and social justice issues and the connections they made with their academic, personal, and philanthropic plans for the future.  Dr. David L. Jacobs, Program Director of the MLK Community Coalition mentioned that the evening was an “historic moment” as the year 2013 marks the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and the bombings of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama,  all defining moments for the Civil Rights Movement.

Please see the list of finalists for the 2013-2014 Martin Luther King Coalition Essay Contest and the list of winners for the Art Contest below.  For more pictures from the event, click here.  Also, mark your calendars for January 20, 2014, the citywide MLK Holiday Celebration on January 20, 2014, where we will find out the placing of the essay finalists.


Emory Schlanger, 4th Grade
San Rafael Elementary
Principal: Mr. Rudy Ramirez • Teacher:  Mrs. Del Toro

McKenna Robbins, 5th Grade
Webster Elementary School
Principal:  Dr. Jeffrey Bauer • Teacher:  Ms. Monique Garza

Amanda Salas, 5th Grade
Webster Elementary School
Principal:  Dr. Jeffrey Bauer • Teacher:  Ms. Monique Garza


Johanna Dickie, 8th Grade
Blair IB School
Principal:  Mr. Trudell Skinner • Teacher:  Mrs. Espinoza

Natalie Brown, 6th Grade
The Gooden School
Principal:  Patty Patano • Teacher:  Mr. Williamson

Giovanni Fittipaldi, 8th Grade
Wilson Middle School
Principal:  Mrs. Rudchenko • Teacher:  Ms. Ezieme


Crissean Simon, 12th Grade
Center for Independent Study Academy
Principal:  Mr. Jack Loos • Teacher:  Mr. Quaranta

Audrey Cameron, 9th Grade
The Peace & Justice Academy
Principal:  Randy Christopher • Teacher:  Erin Conley

Kiana Francis, 11th Grade
Center for Independent Study Academy
Principal:  Mr. Jack Loos • Teacher:  Mr. Quaranta


Emory Schlanger, 4th Grade – 1st Place
San Rafael Elementary
Principal:  Mr. Rudy Ramirez • Teacher:  Ms. Del Torro


Amy Wong, 4th Grade – 2nd Place
San Rafael Elementary
Principal:  Mr. Rudy Ramirez • Teacher: Ms. Del Torro

Lilian Valdez, 5th Grade – 3rd Place
Sierra Madre Elementary
Principal:  Mrs. Esther Salinas • Teacher: Ms. Lisa Prado


Jazlyn Turcios, 8th Grade – 1st Place
Marshall Fundamental Middle School
Principal:  Dr. Mark Anderson • Teacher:  Ms. Lorraine Lopez

Jillion Albright, 8th Grade – 2nd Place
Woodrow Wilson Middle School
Principal:  Sarah Rudchenko • Teacher:  Ms. Ngozi Ezieme

Dana Mooradian, 7th Grade – 3rd Place
Marshall Fundamental
Principal:  Dr. Mark Anderson • Teacher:  Ms. Lorraine Lopez


Yeieun Cho, 12th Grade – 1st Place
Blair High School
Principal:  Ms. Trudell Skinner • Teacher: Ms. Vilma Martinez

Samantha Cruz, 9th Grade – 2nd Place
Blair High School
Principal:  Ms. Trudell Skinner • Teacher:  Ms. Vilma Martinez

Emma Yervandyan, 12th Grade – 3rd Place
Pasadena High School
Principal:  Mr. Gilbert Barraza • Teacher:  Mr. Alex Schultz


Tonight! MLK Essay & Art Contest Public Reading and Showing

MicrophonePlease come and join us tonight, December 11, 2013 at 6:30pm in the main auditorium at Franklin Elementary School at 527 West Ventura Street, Altadena, CA 91001.

Tonight is the night we will meet the finalists and winners of the MLK Community Coalition Essay and Art Contest!  Winners in the art contest will be announced and finalists in the essay category will read their submissions.  After tonight, mark your calendars for the MLK Celebration on January 20, 2014, where the ranking of the winners will be announced.  This is an exciting process, so bring your family out and join us in listening to the essays, making your own predictions, and then coming together to find out and celebrate the winners!  Admission is free.  For more information, call (626) 296-3329 and leave a message.