Annual "Celebration Train" honors MLK with 51-mile trip from San Jose to San Francisco

The nation paused today to once again commemorate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At Diridon Station, the 51-mile trip from San Jose to San Francisco aboard CalTrain becomes a trip back in history, in hopes of creating a better future. Once again, the songs, signs, and messages trumpet the annual “Celebration Train” marking the birth of Dr. King.

“Doctor kings message, his life, his legacy, I think the things he was trying to teach back then are still relevant now,” said Tasha Bartholomew, a spokeswoman for CalTrain.

The civil rights icon is widely known for this speech during the 1963 march on Washington D.C. Those efforts led to legislation that continues impacting lives more than a half century later.

“You know Doctor King was a visionary in so many ways. And he identified coming together and being supportive allies of other communities,” said Usha Srinivasan, the founder of Sangam Arts.

At the Mexican Heritage Plaza, Sangam Arts brings together artists from multiple cultures as a way of helping meld the many communities Srinivasan said have become less integrated.

“We come together as a community, educate each other, lift each other up through the arts. And help promote a sense of belonging to the same community,” she said.

A portion of that larger community came together at an East San Jose school. Volunteers, including Mayor Sam Liccardo, (D) San Jose, painted walls and built benches and tables as a way to improve the facility.

“This is a moment of renewed hope. We know this is an election season when our voices will be heard clearly. And we have one critical opportunity to restore dignity in this country. To bring our divided country together. And to move forward,” said Liccardo.

The vision forward varies from person-to-person. At the San Jose Bike Clinic, volunteer mechanic Steve Dakin is spending his day off from Adobe fixing bicycles for those who can’t afford high-dollar repairs..

“As someone who wants to make the world a better place, the bike clinic is also here to make the community better by helping people,” said Dakin.

Dr. King would have been 91 on this day. His dream, still a vision millions strive toward, on a track towards a more perfect union.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks before crowd of 25,000 in front of the state capital building on March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images)