Former San Francisco mayor and longtime state lawmaker Willie Brown will headline Modesto's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
Brown will serve as the keynote speaker at the 16th annual event, sponsored by the Modesto Peace/Life Center, the city of Modesto, Modesto Junior College, and California State University, Stanislaus. It's scheduled for Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Modesto Junior College auditorium.
King would have turned 81 today. "What we hope every year is that people remember Martin Luther King Jr. and some of his philosophy," said James Costello of the Modesto Peace/Life Center. "One of his key points is that we need to approach solutions to problems in a nonviolent way and we need to work for justice."
The event is free because sponsors hope to attract as wide an audience as possible, Costello said. In particular, Costello said he'd like to see younger people who might not be as familiar with King's work.
Minister Tommie Muhammad, former director of Modesto's King-Kennedy Memorial Center, will be honored with the annual Legacy Award, which recognizes local people who represent King's philosophy of nonviolence and social justice.
"He's done a huge amount over the years working for the people of west Modesto, he goes the extra mile," Costello said.
Other MLK events:
Sunday, 2 p.m. — 15th annual Mother Lode Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration. At the Sonora High School auditorium, 430 N. Washington St., Sonora. Music, poetry, storytelling, essays and guest speaker Rose Roach. A free reception follows the event.
Sunday, 3 p.m. — A celebration of the life and ministry of Martin Luther King Jr. at Christ Unity Baptist Church, 1320 L St., Modesto. Speaker is the Rev. Keith C. Morgan of Pastor Fellowship Baptist Church, Manteca. The gospel group Perfecting Praise of Stockton will perform.