LOS ANGELES - The Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution today commemorating the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the National Day of Service observed to mark his birth.
The resolution was sponsored by Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III and co-sponsored by Board Vice President Nick Melvoin, Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez and Board Member Kelly Gonez.
“Dr. King devoted his life to the struggle for justice and equality. Committed to nonviolence, he fought for freedom and justice for all in the United States,” Dr. McKenna said.
As the only African-American on the board, Dr. McKenna was born and raised in the South, where Jim Crow laws mandated racial segregation of schools, hospitals and other public places. He participated in his first civil rights demonstration as a teenager, protesting a movie theater that relegated African-American patrons to the balcony.
Dr. King was born Jan. 15, 1929, and his birthday has been recognized as a national holiday since 1984. It was designated a National Day of Service in 1994.
“The best tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is serving others,” Acting Superintendent Vivian Ekchian said. “I am encouraging our students, employees and families to volunteer and help others for the upcoming National Day of Service.”
School Board President Mόnica García said, “To serve is to listen, and to act on behalf of the most vulnerable and the most disenfranchised. Access to a high-quality education has been a key component in the civil rights movement and continues to be a goal in L.A. Unified. We must, and will continue to fight, for ‘Kids First.’”
Board Vice President Melvoin said, “A ‘Day of Service’ is a fitting honor for Dr. King, who taught us that life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”
School Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said, “Now, more than ever, we need to be reminded of Dr. King’s legacy and to vigilantly protect and grow the human and civil rights that Dr. King fought and died for. I encourage all members of the L.A. Unified family, and our community partners, to participate in the National Day of Service and to work together to find fair and equitable solutions for our most pressing national and local problems.”
School Board Member Dr. Rodriguez said, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led an exemplary life. He taught us the value of mobilizing around a just cause and winning from the moral high ground. On this and every Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let us reflect on the social ills we must address and how our lives are better for this extraordinary activist’s legacy.”
School Board Member Gonez said, “In these heightened political times, it is especially important to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights pioneer who fought for equality and justice. We should all seek to match his commitment to the betterment of our nation. We encourage our communities to honor his memory by giving back in a day of service.”
School Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic said, “I encourage all of our students and staff that have the means to participate in the National Day of Service – a day held in tribute to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We have a responsibility to promote good citizenship and civic responsibility for our students, and highlighting this day designed for community service and engagement is a great vehicle for this goal.”
Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766