Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara

Who We Are

Who We Are

Our committee is dedicated to bringing awareness to the Santa Barbara community

The King Federal Holiday Commission in planning the first celebration in 1986, saw the holiday as “a day for love, not hate; for understanding, not anger; for peace, not war. “ The Commission further declared that it would be a “day when people of all races, religions, classes and stations in life put aside their differences and join in a spirit of togetherness.

We invite the community to come, to walk with us, sit with us, and share with us in the spirit of unity throughout this time as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These MLKSB events are made possible by many volunteers and supporters, including the business and clergy communities. We look forward to continuing to offer these type of events and activities, which bring attention to social justice issues. We hope that they will become part of the fabric of Santa Barbara and surrounding communities. We sincerely appreciate the support of all and our elected officials, who come together to pay tribute to Rev. King’s ideal of the beloved community.


A message from President,  E. onja Brown, at the MLK Jr. Eternal Flame, UCSB

President’s Message

2020 has been a year of supreme challenge to our physical, spiritual and mental state. Most of us began the year with optimism and a sense of well-being. Few could imagine the tremendous impact that a world pandemic would have on us and our country. Disturbingly, essential workers, particularly those working on the frontlines of healthcare, agriculture and food production, transportation and public services, have from the beginning of the pandemic been required to show up to work without being provided adequate protective equipment and testing for the virus. Unemployment has skyrocketed due to widespread business closures, school campuses are closed, and usual routines are a thing of the past. Worst of all has been the untimely loss of family and friends to the virus, while loved ones are prevented from being with them to offer comfort in their suffering. Even simply having to wear a mask in public has been a traumatizing experience for many.

To compound the disruption and traumas of the pandemic, mass street protests arose in the wake of horrific incidents of police violence against unarmed African Americans. The injustices were nothing new – they were merely a continuation of 400 years of oppression inflicted on our people; they just happened to be recorded on video and this time broadcast across the USA and around the globe. It is not difficult to understand why hundreds of millions of people around the world were dismayed and shocked, and why more than 20 million took to the streets to express their anger and to call for change.

It seems that difficult times bring out the worst and the best in us. The worst can be seen in the overt displays of racism, bigotry, intimidation and violence by extremist, often heavily armed, sectors of our society; and despite the overwhelming outpouring of pain and outrage from the public, the brutality and violence by law enforcement against African Americans and other people of color continues. The best in us can be seen in the masses of people, particularly young people, lifting their voices and taking to the streets in peaceful protest against police violence.

As an African American, I felt that others truly felt our pain; they felt our anger and frustration. Protestors of all races and ethnicities seemed to understand what we have felt and lived through for generations. The generalized empathy of people all over the world – not just in the USA – coming out to protest injustices committed against us has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate the best of what it means to be human.

Dr. King said “The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.” This year has definitely put that statement to the test, which is the reason the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara (MLKSB) felt it was appropriate for the theme this year. Students participate in the MLKSB Essay and Poetry Contest each year to show how Dr. King’s words connect to the realities of their own lives and the world around them. This is the essence of the “contest.” The scholarship prizes are simply a way of thanking them for their effort; competition and prizes are not the purpose of the contest. Primarily we want students to think and make connections to the theme for themselves.

Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned a world where people were no longer divided by race. He is an icon of the civil rights movement in the USA, and, like Mahatma Gandhi remains a symbol throughout the world of the power of peaceful protest to achieve social justice. So powerful was the movement that Dr. King led and that it inspired Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the same year that Dr. King was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, and later the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Dr. King’s life and work symbolize the quest for equality and freedom from invidious discrimination that lies at the heart of the American – and human – dream.

There is no question that these are important rights, but the full scope of human rights is very broad. These rights mean choice and equal opportunity. They mean the freedom to obtain an education, choose a career, to select a mate of one’s choice and raise a family. These rights include the freedom to travel and the right to work gainfully without harassment, abuse and threat of arbitrary dismissal. And these rights include even the right to leisure and recreation, which we will all be ready to resume when we return to a level of normalcy, in the wake of the pandemic.

E. onja Brown
November 29, 2020

P.S. Hope you like exploring the new MLKSB website!

Our Board

Board of Directors

E. onja Brown


Isaac Garrett

Vice President

Anita Blume


John Douglas

Interim Secretary

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Betsy Shelby

Juliet Velarde Betita

Dr. Jamece Brown

Advisory Board Members

Annell & Dr. Earl Stewart
Beverly King
Christine “Chrissy” Gilbert
Delvis Stoute
Guy Walker
Dr. Jacques Charles
Lillian Pipersburg
Linda Tyler Ryles
Michael Silverander, Emeritus
Niki Sandoval
Toni Schultheis

Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, Board of Directors sincerely appreciates
the ongoing support of the 
City and County of Santa Barbara and elected officials

Salud Carbajal, Member of Congress
Hannah-Beth Jackson, California State Senate
Monique Limón, California State Assembly
Das Williams, Santa Barbara County Supervisor
Gregg Hart, Santa Barbara County Supervisor
Cathy Murillo, Santa Barbara Mayor
Jason Dominguez, Santa Barbara City Council
Eric Friedman, Santa Barbara City Council
Meagan Harmon, Santa Barbara City Council
Paula Perotte, Mayor of Goleta
Kyle Richards, Mayor Pro Tempore, Goleta City Council
Stuart Kasdin, Goleta City Council
James Kyriaco, Goleta City Council
Jonathan Abboud, Isla Vista Community Services District
and SBCC Board of Trustees

Special Thanks

Akivah Northern
Anne Visocky
Cantor, Mark Childs
Delvis Stoute, YBP
Diversity Committee
Dr. Charles Nicholson
Inner Light Community Choir
Fidelity Title
Free Methodist Church of SB
Friendship Missionary Baptist
Gary Atkins Sound Systems
Greater SB Clergy Association
Isla Vista Food Coop
Janice Mayfield Rorick
Justin Plackett, A and J
Limousine Service
Ken Blume
Lazy Acres
League of Women Voters
Live Oak Unitarian
Universalist Congregation
Nansie Douglas
Penny Sidoli
Quienna Broadnax, YBP
Robert Bason
Rosalyn Collins
SB Community Choir
Santa Barbara Friends
Santa Barbara Interfaith Alliance
Trader Joe’s
Young Black Professionals (YBP)
Youth Council; Teen Program

Special Recognition

Aaron Jones
Akivah Northern
Alla McKeon
American Riveria Bank
Anita Ralph Blume
Annell Stewart
Anti-Defamation League, SB/Tri
Beverly King
Brianna Moffett
Brenda Williams
Christine “Chrissy” Gilbert
City of Santa Barbara
City of Santa Barbara Police Department
CostCo Wholesale Warehouse
Delvis Stoute
Derrick Curtis
Dr. Anne C. Hudley
Dr. Earl Stewart
Dr. Jacques Charles
Dr. Charles Nicholson
Dr. Christopher Johnson
Dr. Hymon Johnson
Dr. James M. Lawson
Dr. Sharon Tettegah
First United Methodist Church
Frances Moore
Gary Atkins Sound Systems
Guy Walker
Hal Conklin
Hartley King
Hymon Johnson
Isla Vista Co-Op
Janet Reineck, World Dance
Jim Carrillo
Judi Weisbart
Ken Ralph
Lea Williams
Linda Tyler Ryles
Lois Mahalia
Majorie Bushman
Maureen “Mo” McFadden
Michael Silverander
Michelle Williams
Monique Limon
Our Daily Bread
Quienna Broadnax
Rev. Alan Stoute
Rev. Julia Hamilton
Rev. Mark Richardson
Rev. Roderick Murray
Rod Rolle Photography
Rosalyn Collins
Steve Cohen, Rabbi
Thomas “Randy” Weiss
Toni Schultheis
Trinity Lutheran Church
Unitarian Society, SB
University of California, SB
    Alumni Affairs
    Center for Black Studies Research
    Dept of Black Studies
    MultiCultural Center (MCC)
    Dept of Sustainability
Vladimir Marcellus
Wendy Sims Moten
Zaveeni Marcus-Khan


Bruce & Wanda Venturelli
Charles Cassidy
Danny Connell
David Gorospe
Diane Fox
Emilliano Campobello
Heida Setzer
James B. and Pat Robertson
Linda Phillips
Majorie Bushman
Marilyn Brewer
Marc Chytilo
Mark Childs, Cantor
Mia Lopez
Nany Weiss
Pat Robertson
Scott Classen
Silverander Communications
Tyler Hammond
Toni Schultheis
United Methodist Women of
First United Methodist Church SB

our sponsors