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“Peace Requires Justice”

31st Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration held at SGI-USA World Peace Ikeda Auditorium on Jan. 18.

Unity—Community leaders at an event honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Santa Monica, Calif. Jan. 18. Photo: Debra Williams.


by Maya Ono
STAFF WRITER

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 18—Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

These words by Martin Luther King Jr. were on the minds of those attending the 31st Annual Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sponsored by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Westside Coalition in partnership with the SGI-USA.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Westside Coalition presented the SGI-USA with this plaque of appreciation for its decadelong support of the MLK Day celebrations at the World Peace Ikeda Auditorium, Santa Monica, Calif., Jan. 18.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Westside Coalition presented the SGI-USA with this plaque of appreciation for its decadelong support of the MLK Day celebrations at the World Peace Ikeda Auditorium, Santa Monica, Calif., Jan. 18.

During the event themed “Peace Requires Justice”—held at the World Peace Ikeda Auditorium—the Westside Coalition presented the SGI-USA with a plaque of appreciation. West Territory Peace and Community Relations Director Danny Hall accepted the award, which acknowledges a “decade of generous support of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. annual celebration.” Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who served as the keynote speaker, addressed peace on three levels: in the world, among individuals and within oneself. Ms. Kuehl spoke about the inner strength needed for peace and justice, and the disappointments that those fighting for good may face along the way. Yet, she urged everyone to advance in the spirit of Dr. King’s words “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

As part of the MLK celebrations, the SGI-USA also hosted a concert headlined by the Santa Monica Symphony on Jan. 16 at the World Peace Ikeda Auditorium.

Khamal Iwuanyanwu, a student of the Get Lit—Words Ignite youth literacy program, performed spoken word poetry at the Westside Coalition celebration. “This event showed that we are still fighting for unity as a human race,” he said in an interview afterward. “Every single person has a story, and every person should tell their own. Me being a 17-year-old and standing onstage helps me to tell people that there is potential beyond this moment— you just have to take the first step.”