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'Persistence' The Theme Of The 33rd All Peoples Celebration On MLK Jr. Day

Residents of Broadway Heights celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Jan. 15, 2020.
Joe Hong
Residents of Broadway Heights celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Jan. 15, 2020.

Updated 4:10 p.m. Monday, January 18, 2021

The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was celebrated today in San Diego with the 33rd annual All Peoples Celebration. Organized by Alliance San Fiego, the event was held virtually for the first time. The keynote speaker was Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, founder and pastor of the City Of Refuge, United Church of Christ in Oakland.

The theme of this year's event was persistence. Flunder spoke of the need to persist as she reflected on Dr. King's teachings.

"Black bones and white bones. Brown, red and yellow bones. Protestant and Catholic bones. Muslim and Mormon, and Buddhist and Baha'i bones. Straight, gay, trans and bi bones. Democratic, independent and, yes, Republican bones. Bones from every land, from every country, every ethnicity, and every culture, finding their way to each other - blurring the lines that separate us," she said.

The event, which usually drew more than a thousand attendees before the pandemic, also had musical performances by the Kumeyaay Bird Singers, The Bengsons, and poetry by Emmy-award winning poet, Boris "BLUZ" Rogers.

Alliance San Diego is a community empowerment organization to promote justice and social change.

Original Story

The 33rd annual All Peoples Celebration, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will take place Monday as a virtual event and will feature keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, founder and pastor of the City Of Refuge, United Church of Christ in Oakland.

The event is organized by Alliance San Diego, a community empowerment organization with the mission to build coalitions to promote justice and social change. The virtual event features Flunder as well as musical performances from the Kumeyaay Bird Singers, The Bengsons and poetry by Emmy-award winning poet, Boris "BLUZ" Rogers.

"For over 30 years, San Diegans have come together to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King at the All Peoples Celebration," said Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego. "Our theme this year, "Persist," is an affirmation, to come together, no matter who we are or where we come from, and persist in our commitment to make Dr. King's "Beloved Community" a reality."

The event is a reflection of King's quote: "That freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil."

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While this event usually brings together more than 1,000 San Diegans for an inspiring program and breakfast, this year's program will be totally virtual, and can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of home.

Flunder is an award-winning gospel singer and presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. She is on the board of Starr King School for the Ministry and DEMOS and has taught at theological schools. She is a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion and received her doctorate of ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is also the author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic and Radical Inclusion.

"I'm honored to be chosen as keynote speaker for this event, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," Flunder said. "As we continue to struggle to build our Beloved Kingdom, we know that to persist is to resist."

Guerrero said she was honored to have Flunder speak at the event.

"We look forward to hearing Bishop Flunder's reflections on what it means to "persist," through adversity and towards a future where all people can achieve their full potential," she said.