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Celebrating Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr, Yvon Chouinard, YOURS

January 15, 2023

Dr King’s Dream

Today is Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday: he was born Jan. 15, 1929, and in 1963 he proclaimed “I Have a Dream” in a speech known now around the world. Here in the US, we celebrate MLK and his dream of equality annually, on the third Monday each year with a holiday that includes special events and a national day of service. 

One of the special events is “The Beloved Community Awards” which recognizes “national and international individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in leadership, pursuit of social justice, and commitment to creating the Beloved Community in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.”


In 2023, winners include Ventura local Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard who dreams of sustainability and more, and country singer Dolly Parton who dreams of literacy and more: 

  • Christine King Farris Legacy of Service in Education Award – Dolly Parton; Entertainer, Business Woman, and Philanthropist, ( honored in absentia)
  • Coretta Scott King Soul of the Nation Award – Aminata Toure; Minister for Social Affairs, Youth, Family, Senior 
  • Citizens, Integration, and Equality Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
  • Yolanda D. King Higher Ground Award- HollyRod Foundation- Rodney and Holly Robinson Peete
  • Salute to Greatness Humanitarian Award – Yvon Chouinard– Founder of Patagonia
  • Salute to Greatness Corporate Social Impact Award – Ariel Investments, Accepted By: John W. Rogers Chairman & Co- CEO
  • Beloved Community Civic Leadership Award – Melanie Campbell; President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civil Participation
  • Beloved CommunityTechnological Innovation Award – Reshma Saujani; Founder and CEO of Marshall Plan for Moms & Founder, Girls Who Code
  • Beloved Community Social Justice Award – Shane Claiborne; Author, Activist, and Co-Founder of Red Letter Christians
  • Beloved Community Youth Influencer Award – Panther Anti Racist Student Union

Jan Dietrick’s silkscreened banner

Wherever you live in the US, you should be able to get to an event. And if not, you can honor his legacy by doing an action of service.

Local Ventura County events include MLK Freedom and Unity Weekend, today and tomorrow, January 15-16, 2023. 


SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2023 (MLK’s birthday)

  • Gathering of the Youth Summit (10AM – 5PM)
  • panels | kingian nonviolence training | listening sessions | networking
  • Funders Social (for Funders and Sponsors only) (6:30 – 8:30PM)

MLK DAY | MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2023 (MLK Day holiday)

  • Youth Networking Brunch (10AM – 12PM)
  • The Pat Bell CommUNITY Basketball Game (12:30 – 3:30PM)
  • Including halftime show by local artists

MLK Day begins with a march on Monday Jan. 16, at 8 am in Plaza Park, Oxnard, located at 5th Street & C. (Want to help make more of the banners pictured above? LMK! Jan Dietrick has this stencil in plastic film, plus plenty of cloth, paint, and brushes, and she’s offered to help do a banner making party to make a dozen more of these cross-bar banner flags for future marches.)

  • 8:00 AM  “Freedom March”
    From Plaza Park, 5th Street and C Street, Oxnard, CA to Oxnard Performing Arts Center (OPAC). Transportation provided from the Oxnard Performing Arts Center to Plaza Park beginning at 7:30 am. Free.
  • 9:00 AM  Observance Program “In Darkness Be the Light Striving for Freedom”  
    with Keynote Speaker Lorrie Brown, City of Ventura Council member, Oxnard Performing Arts Center (OPAC), 800 Hobson Way, Oxnard, CA 93030. $10 admission includes refreshments and vendor exhibits. Tickets may be purchased from MLK Committee members, at the door, or online.

Lorrie Brown

Key note speaker Lorrie Brown was elected to the Ventura City Council in 2018 and won by a landslide. She represented unprecedented leadership with a new and diverse voice as the first black person to ever be elected to council (male or female) since the city’s inception 150 years ago. The winner of the 2022 recipient of California Lutheran’s Outstanding Alumni award, Ms Brown served under John R Hatcher III for two years with the Ventura County NAACP as Community Coordinator, and she led the African American Leadership Commission of Ventura County as Chair.

Most years on MLK Day, I publish a post honoring and commemorating Dr King’s life, with a focus on a different aspect or quote, and often connected to the relationship between dreams and education. Come back tomorrow for more with links and discussion of Maya Angelou’s “Graduation” and Mike Rose’s “Just Wanna Be Average.”

If you can’t wait, check out the text here of MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech (or listen to it here).

Please check out Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams here.

What are your dreams?? 

Check this out:

Carmen Perez-Jordan, a New York City activist who helped create the massive Women’s March on Washington in the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election, is coming back to her Oxnard hometown to motivate youth in a free event Sunday and on Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She and others will urge people to adopt King’s philosophy of nonviolence in pursuing the change she identifies as good trouble.

“Good trouble is when you are out there with people that you love making sure that justice prevails,” she said in a press release. “I find myself getting into good trouble often.”
She was raised in the poor, sometimes violent Oxnard neighborhood of Durley Park. Her mother, Alicia Perez, still lives in Oxnard, as do many other family members. Her father, Marcelo Perez, died in 2019 at age 94. Perez-Jordan found stability in family and in basketball, playing for legendary coach Pat Bell who taught her about determination and perseverance.
Perez-Jordan is the CEO of The Gathering for Justice, a nonprofit that fights racial inequalities in criminal justice and advocates for alternatives to incarcerating youth which was founded by Harry Belafonte, the actor, singer and activist who was a confidant of King’s and remains Perez-Jordan’s mentor.

Perez-Jordan was one of four chairs of the 2017 march that ignited similar protests across the nation and beyond, bringing out more than 5 million people. She is part of the Black Lives Matter movement, advocates for gender and racial equality and has been arrested multiple times, including a 2017 apprehension at a Day Without A Woman protest near the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City.

Her mom was horrified by her arrests but “At some point, my mother understood,” she said.

At the Martin Luther King event, Perez-Jordan and others will teach people about King’s conviction that taking action without violence creates positive force against injustice and brings change.

“Nonviolence is not just the absence of violence, it’s the presence of love and justice,” she said. “nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.”

For the MLK events, The Gathering for Justice is partnering with the city of Oxnard and the McCune Foundation, which offers local grants to promote leadership and empowerment. Activities include the youth summit, a community mural project, a freedom breakfast at the center at 10 a.m. on Monday and, later in the day, a community vs. celebrities basketball game named for Perez-Jordan’s onetime coach, Bell. Register online through The Gathering for Justice website:

Speakers, participants and entertainers include nationally known activist and former Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory, former NFL player Ronney Jenkins, actor Miles Brown and hip-hop artist Chino XL. Local educators and community leaders will also participate.

For Perez-Jordan, the goal is to provide support for youth and show them paths they can take to bring about change and justice. She thinks the message resonates because it comes from people who know the community. “Oxnard is actually what made me who I am,” she said. “I think people listen because they can see themselves in me.”




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