News Briefs: Bay Area events honor MLK

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday January 10, 2024
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A crowd is expected in San Francisco for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 15. Photo: Courtesy SF Interfaith Council<br><br>
A crowd is expected in San Francisco for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 15. Photo: Courtesy SF Interfaith Council

The Bay Area will commemorate the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, January 15, the federal holiday designated for the slain civil rights leader.

In San Francisco, there will be a march and ceremony sponsored by the San Francisco Interfaith Council and the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Foundation. The march will begin at 11 a.m. at the Caltrain station at Fourth and Townsend streets and proceed to the Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade for a program. Faith leaders are encouraged to invite their congregations, a newsletter stated. The public is also welcome to attend.

Congregations and organizations can bring their banners. This year's theme is "Social Justice and Beloved Community." Participants in groups of 10 or more are encouraged to register here.

The East Bay city of El Cerrito will also have events honoring King this weekend. The two-day celebration, the city's 35th annual, is themed "Living the Dream: It Starts With Me! Spreading Hope, Courage, and Unity."

On Sunday, January 14, at 4 p.m. there will be a screening of "The History of El Cerrito Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration," a film created by the El Cerrito Historical Society, at the El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Theater, 540 Ashbury Avenue.

On Monday, January 15, there will be a parade and rally. People should gather at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, at 9 a.m. and the parade steps off at 10, heading to El Cerrito High School. From 11 a.m. to noon there will be a rally at the high school's performing arts theater.

A news release stated the El Cerrito King day parade and celebration is the longest consecutive running celebration in the state. Organizers are expecting 1,000 people to participate, including the Black Cowboys, Girl and Boy Scouts, political leaders, high school marching bands, churches, and community activists.

In addition to the city, co-sponsors are St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the El Cerrito branch of the NAACP, and the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

For more information, click here.

San Mateo County to honor bi woman

Jenny Walter, a bi woman and founding member of Coast Pride in Half Moon Bay, will be one of six women inducted into San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame.

Coast Pride opened its LGBTQ community center in 2021, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported. It fosters connections for coastal San Mateo County residents from Pacifica to Pescadero. Walter is a former board president of Coast Pride.

According to the release from the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women, which is holding the event, Walter was the first co-chair of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission and during her five-year service, the commission conducted a countywide needs assessment of LGBTQ+ residents and promoted the establishment of the San Mateo County Pride Center. She served as a task force member on the Coastside Recovery Initiative and as counsel to the California Tribal Court-State Court Forum at the Judicial Council.

Before that Walter was directing attorney of Legal Advocates for Children and Youth in San Jose and staff attorney at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco. She presently serves as a tribal appellate judge for the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition and law partner at Hedger & Walter LLP, which is committed to helping tribal courts and nonprofits achieve their vision to serve their communities.

Walter graduated with a degree in linguistics from UC Berkeley in 1982 and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She lives with her wife, two dogs, one chicken, one canary and one mini-pig in Half Moon Bay.

Walter will be inducted on Friday, March 8, which is International Women's Day. In addition to Walter, five others will be welcomed into the hall. They are:

Rosanne Foust, president and CEO of San Mateo County Economic Development Association. The release stated that Foust has built SAMCEDA into an influential and highly regarded inclusive association with membership of Fortune 500 corporations including technology, life sciences, financial services, energy, construction, health care, education and nonprofits.

Maria Lorente-Foresti, Ph.D., a bilingual, bicultural woman, immigrated to the United States from Argentina and has called the San Francisco Bay Area home since 1978. In her current role as the director of the county Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity, Lorente-Foresti spearheads efforts to enhance the county's public behavioral health system to be more culturally responsive and inclusive for San Mateo County workforce and community members.

Christine Padilla, who was born and raised in San Mateo County, has spent her career at the intersection of service and government working to improve women and children's lives. She is currently the director of Build Up San Mateo County, a countywide collective impact initiative that preserves, expands, and improves the supply of child care facilities.

Catalina Gonzalez Johnston is a senior at Half Moon Bay High School living in Pescadero. She has been a member of the leadership team since her sophomore year and has served two years on the Cabrillo Unified School District Board. She also has been a volunteer member of the school site board.

Maya Thompson is a senior at El Camino High School. She recently received the National African American Recognition Award for her strong academic performance on the PSAT and Advanced Placement exams. Outside of school, she has volunteered as a tutor for Project Speak Together, an online tutoring program that helps Ukrainian students learn conversational English skills.

San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women President Susan Kokores praised the inductees.

"We are very excited to honor four extraordinary women and two youth at our Women's Hall of Fame," she stated. "This iconic event is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and we are thrilled to recognize the talents, contributions and vision of these women who improve and strengthen the community for all of us."

The upcoming March 8 ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at Skyline College. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

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