Southern California celebrated the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with acts of service on MLK Day, the only federal holiday designated as an official day of service.
In this week's "In Focus SoCal," host Tanya McRae visits the Community Action Partnership of Orange County, which has its own tie to the civil rights movement, to see how it prepared for MLK Day with its annual service event at its food bank.
"Poverty is already hard and when you add a global pandemic to people who are already struggling with poverty, it makes it an even more insurmountable effort," said Gregory Scott, president and CEO of CAP OC.
The organization helps residents around the year with services including utility assistance, workforce development and programs at three family resource centers.
McRae also meets Chuck Dickerson, the founder and conductor of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. The group has been a part of the annual MLK Day celebration at the California African American Museum for the past four years. In 2021, they had to scale down their full orchestra to a four-piece jazz combo that performed virtually, and they'll be doing the same this year.
McRae also sits down with Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, a former classroom teacher, about the power of giving back to the community on MLK Day.
"I think the best in Martin Luther King's message, and I was a classroom teacher for almost 30 years, is that when we work together and we look past our issues of divisiveness, and as we know we're more polarized than ever. But when we look at the goodness in each other, we look at working together, and it makes us who we are best as a nation, as a country and as a community," said Quirk-Silva.
Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard, assistant director of community and public engagement with the USC Center for Religion and Civil Culture, also joins the conversation and talks about Dr. King's legacy in Los Angeles. He made several trips to the region during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
"Southern California represents a place, people tend to think we're not facing the same kind of challenges in other parts of the nation. Unfortunately, Southern California has been plagued with racism and plagued with injustice, and so Dr. King's visit to Southern California affirmed for those that were dealing with the struggles that they were seen and heard as well," said Smith-Pollard.
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