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

Welcome Message from MLKSB Board President Eonja Brown

Welcome to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara’s (“MLKSB”) 16th annual presentation. After the past two years of online virtual programs, it is a joy, honor, and privilege to be able to bring back live programs in celebration Dr. King’s life and legacy. I know that we are all glad to be back to see each other and socialize in person again.
These last two and a half years have been difficult for everybody and have been the cause of major changes in how we live. We remain conscious and cautious of the health challenges imposed upon all of us by the pandemic. We had to quickly learn how to navigate communication programs like Zoom on our computers and other devices; meetings, seminars and town halls all transferred to presentations in the virtual world. We are grateful to TVSB who produced the 2022 virtual program, when we had to cancel a few days before MLK holiday.
Through the MLKSB Essay and Poetry Awards Program, students throughout Santa Barbara County have an opportunity to share their views of Dr. King’s legacy of work for social justice, prompted by this year’s MLKSB theme: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
We are happy to announce that, thanks to Delvis Stoute the annual Essay & Poetry Program can now be managed online, from application to submission of essays and poems. This new platform allows for greater outreach to students over more of Santa Barbara County, and for more opportunities for teachers and students to participate. The local branch of the Anti-Defamation League continues to co-sponsor the program.
In 2020 one of our goals was to do a series of townhall meetings on the state of health, education, housing, and employment in communities of color in Santa Barbara County. The first in the series focused on how health was disproportionately affecting low income and marginalized communities, and what was being done to address the situation in Santa Barbara County.
In 2021 the focus was education. MLKSB partnered with Gateway Educational Services to bring together school administrators and teachers from various county school districts to learn about the services being provided by the districts to meet the challenges students from low-income and marginalized communities face in the fast-changing environment of the covid pandemic.
The town hall resulted in school districts committing to do more for such students. The result was that the school district committed to hiring of more administrators of color.
This past Spring we collaborated with the Poor Peoples Campaign-Calif., led by Daisy Beamon, in which the community was invited to participate in a public reading of Dr. King’s letter from a Birmingham jail. MLKSB Board members also participated in a project organized by Healing Justice-Santa Barbara, “Prioritizing the Preservation of Black Legacies in Santa Barbara.” 
More recently, MLKSB was invited by Westmont College to participate in a public conversation with Dr. Clairborne Carson, professor of history at Stanford University and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. Dr. Carson was selected by Coretta Scott King to head the institute, and is in charge of Dr. King’s papers and related scholarly works.
Two main goals for MLKSB this coming year include obtaining office/meeting space and hiring an Executive Director. MLKSB can no longer continue as an all-volunteer program; an executive director is needed to handle day-to-day matters and to lead the organization into a future, in which MLKSB will be recognized as a part of permanent fabric of the greater Santa Barbara community. A second goal is to continue partnering with other nonprofit organizations providing programs and services that benefit the public at large, as we have done for the past 16 years. 
From MLKSB’s beginning with a one-day celebration of the Martin Luther King holiday to the current schedule of programs and activities the entire weekend starting with the Eternal Flame commemoration on the UCSB campus on Thursday; participation in an MLK-oriented Shabbat service at Congregation B’nai B’rith Friday evening; encouraging participation in volunteer opportunities on “Day of Service” Saturday (putting into action this year’s theme: ‘What are you doing for others?’” encouraging church and faith communities to focus Sunday services on Dr. King’s legacy of compassion and nonviolent struggle for social justice; and the MLK Day holiday programs, starting with a morning program outdoors in De la Guerra Plaza, Unity March up State Street to the Arlington Theater, and the main program in the Arlington Theater.
Your support of MLKSB is needed whether you advocate for the organization, whether you donate money or whether you actively volunteer. Those three avenues of support are really important and help the organization continue to grow. 
In closing, I’d like to play tribute to the outstanding community members that passed away this past year. They include:

Alvin Wallace
Booker Brown
Clevonease Johnson
Jason Oatis
Lorease Amey
Mavis Thibodeaux Patsy Tharp
Rosa Harper
Silas Jackson
Sylvia Pugh
Timmoxena Jackson

E. onja Brown
January 2023

eternal flame

Our Board

Board of Directors

E. onja Brown


Isaac Garrett

Vice President

Anita Blume


Ademola Oyewole-Davis

Betsy Shelby

Juliet Velarde Betita

Dr. Jamece Brown

Miriam Dance

Beverly King - Emeritus

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle - Emeritus

Advisory Board Members

Annell & Dr. Earl Stewart
Christine “Chrissy” Gilbert
Delvis Stoute
Dr. Jacques Charles
Lillian Pipersburg
Linda Tyler Ryles
Nansie Douglas
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, Emeritus
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
Randy Rowse, 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
John Clark
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

City of SB