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Parade, Events to Honor King in El Cerrito

The celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday in El Cerrito includes the annual large march and ensuing rally at El Cerrito High on Jan.16, a free film at City Hall on Jan. 14, and a complimentary lunch at El Cerrito Royale on Jan. 16.

One of El Cerrito's major annual events – the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade and rally – will be held Monday morning, Jan. 16, this year.

Other events honoring the slain civil rights leader in the city include a film, Selma, Lord, Selma, at City Hall on Jan. 14 and a complimentary lunch at El Cerrito Royale on Jan. 16.

The march in recent years has drawn hundreds of participants, including many students as well as civic and community leaders. This year marks the 23rd consecutive year for the parade, making it the longest-running unbroken King celebration in the East Bay, according to organizer Patricia Durham.

Those who wish to participate are asked to assemble at 9 a.m. in the Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot, 6400 Manila Avenue, in El Cerrito.

The march will proceed along San Pablo Avenue, up Moeser Lane to Ashbury Avenue and then to El Cerrito High, where the 10:30 a.m. rally will be held for the first time in the school's modern, comfortable Performing Arts Theater. (It was previously held in the gym.)

The one-hour program will feature El Cerrito Police Chief Sylvia Moir at the guest speaker and dancing, music and other peformances. The emcee again this year will be Nancy Skinner, who represents El Cerrito in the state Assembly.

The film, Selma, Lord, Selma, will be screened for free at City Hall on Jan. 14 at 10:30 a.m. The Disney-produced film tells the true story of an 11-year-old girl in 1965 Alabama inspired by King. The screening is sponsored by the city's Human Relations Commission. (Note the change: The film earlier was scheduled to be shown at the Cerrito Theater.)

El Cerrito Royale says it will serve a complimentary lunch featuring King's favorite meal in honor of his birthday. The meal – "Southern Mixed Green Salad, Spare Ribs Atlanta, Deep Southern Blackeyed Peas, Baked Sweet Potato, Corn Bread, Pecan Pie" – will be served between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 16. RSVP is requested by phone or email: 510-234-5200 or elcerritoroyale@bergcommunities.com.

The King march and rally at El Cerrito High is sponsored by the City of El Cerrito, St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the El Cerrito Branch NAACP and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District. As before, the program will be broadcast live over the high school radio station, KECG, 88.1 FM.

The theme for this year is "The Dreamer Weeps for the Promised Generation!  You Are The Dream – The Dream Is Now,” according to a city news release last month.

For more information, check the city's Web site at www.el-cerrito.org or contact Durham at 510-234-2518.

King was born Jan. 15, 1929, and his birthday is celebrated as a national holiday on the third Monday in January.

Correction: In the original version of this article, the Jan. 14 date for the screening of the film, Selma, Lord, Selma, was noted three times, the first two correctly and the third incorrectly. It has been corrected.

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