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Long Beach celebrated MLK Day of Service in a variety of ways today. From beach cleanups to mural painting, collecting trash out of alleys and even gardening. Over 200 people gathered to kick off the holiday at MLK Park this morning.

Before participants dispersed to their varying projects, Team WYSM Board Vice Chairman Gregory Sanders requested during the kick off, “Today, I want you to find someone that does not look like you and give them a big hug!” The ensuing hug fest was nothing short of moving.


“Let’s all honor the incredible work of Dr. King and build on his strength, compassion, and pursuit of justice,” Mayor Robert Garcia posted on Facebook earlier today. “Proud that we recognize MLK in our local Long Beach parks, streets, and community centers.”

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Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson asked the public to join him at the California African American Museum’s MLK Day Celebration, where he delivered an excerpt from the iconic civil rights leader’s sermon: American Dream.


Second District Councilmember Jeannine Pearce also visited the museum with her family, prior to attending Project #3: Beach Cleanup, of Leadership Long Beach’s “Day On, Not a Day Off” event, where several opportunities for community members to volunteer were presented throughout the morning and afternoon.

“I hope you will join me today in reflection and service,” said Pearce in a statement. “Today is day to celebrate courage, persistence, and community. It’s days like today, that I take a pause and reflect on what lessons history has taught us and how it relates to us locally.”


One such project included painting a mural titled We Are One at MLK Park, where artist Greg Pickens instructed volunteers in helping paint the 25-by-10 foot artwork in North Long Beach.

“2017 will be a year of tough discussions, both nationally and locally,” said Pearce in a statement. “I encourage you all to consider the lessons of Martin Luther King, and ask yourself what you can do locally to make our community the best it can be.”


Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].