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With the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day approaching, residents of Los Angeles and West Hollywood will have many options to commemorate the holiday.
The City of West Hollywood will launch Thursday the “Get on the Bus” tour with a reception in the conference center of the Pacific Design Center at 6 p.m. The reception will introduce the students and community partners who will participate in the April 21 multi-stop bus tour of local art businesses. The reception will feature a performance of “Lift Every Voice” by recording artist DeNetria Champ, and will also feature the presentation of the 2011 “Keeper of the Dream” award to Karina Samala, an activist and transgender advocate for her work with the LAPD in improving service to the transgender community.
The “Get on the Bus” initiative was formed in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and is a community-based, creative arts and arts education program. It will introduce local youths to professionals in the art world and teach them skills necessary to work in the industry, such as examining the creative process, networking and catering to specific clientele.
“We felt that introducing the students to people in the art profession would be a great service,” said Prentis Bonds, chair of the city’s MLK Committee. “These are high school students who are starting to think about their future careers.”
The students were chosen through the Teen Center in West Hollywood and were selected for their interest in art as a career and their participation in art programs at the center. The program was initially capped at 10 students, but others came along and voiced their interest in joining the program.
“We tried to cap it at ten to provide a cushion in case some of the students could not make it for the bus tour,” Bonds said. “But we weren’t going to turn these other kids away.”
There are currently 14 students enrolled in the program, but that number could change between now and April 21. For more information, contact Bonds at (323)848-6354.
In addition, the City of West Hollywood will also celebrate MLK Day by collaborating with the SOVA Food Pantry on Sunday for the 2011 Martin Luther King Day of Service. Volunteers at the SOVA Food Pantry, located at 1140 N. La Brea Ave., will sort through large boxes of assorted food products and condense them into smaller boxes for distribution. There will be 24 volunteers who will be split into two shifts, with the first 12 sorting from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the second group sorting from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. This will mark the first time SOVA has collaborated with West Hollywood for the MLK Day of Service.
Fred Summers, the director of operations for JFS/SOVA, said SOVA was approached with the idea by officials from West Hollywood a few weeks ago. Summers added that there are only 24 volunteer slots because the demand for volunteers is not as high on Sunday. The SOVA Food Pantry typically distributes food to the homeless Monday through Wednesday and on Fridays. They also have a distribution on the second and fourth Sundays of every month. SOVA will observe the MLK holiday on Monday and resume distribution Tuesday. Summers said residents interested in volunteering can do so by calling (323)848-6435, or email [email protected]. He added that residents who wish to volunteer for SOVA’s regular distribution schedule can contact volunteer coordinator Felice Resnik at (818)988-7682.
An option for parents on Martin Luther King Day is The Autry National Center, which will be open for the holiday, a rarity for the center.
“We aren’t always open on the holiday,” said Yadhira De Leon, spokesperson for The Autry. “It’s something we wanted to do because the schools will be closed and parents may want to do something educational for their kids.”
The Autry will offer many activites on MLK Day, such as a museum-wide scavenger hunt, a history lesson about African Americans in the Wild West and gold panning from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Aurty’s Imagination Gallery will also feature old movie posters from the Norman Film Company, who made Western movies for African Americans in the 1930s. Admission to The Autry is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and $4 for children ages four to 12. For more information call (323)627-2000 or visit www.theAutry.org.
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