Events held around Bay Area in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

The nation paused Monday to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Multiple events were held around the Bay Area as part of the celebration of the Civil Rights icon, and his efforts to create a more equal society.

Around 9:30 a.m. at Diridon Station in San Jose, the MLK Day of Service began with a chorus singing, “Ride Away to Freedom in the Morning.” They sang as dozens of people waited to board CalTrain’s annual Freedom Train. 

The 40-plus mile trip up to San Francisco took a little less than an hour.

“A lot of very excited people, happy to celebrate the holiday and Dr. King's legacy,” said Dan Lieberman, a spokesman for CalTrain.

Once on the train, there was more singing, and time to reflect on what the struggle means in 2019. There were also discussions of what people can do to help keep King’s dream alive.

Not far from the rails, 200 volunteers are turning earth in an attempt to remake an overlooked part of their community.

“We’re hoping to beautify all of these entry ways to the Bay Trail from East Palo Alto neighborhoods today,” said Junko Bryant, the assistant director of Grassroots Ecology.

What had been a muddy marsh prone to flooding from the San Francisquito Creek is being transformed. Mulch is being put down, and dozens of trees and shrubs are being planted and will soon take root.

“We’re doing some landscaping to really turn it into a beautiful community space. So it both protects us and serves as recreation,” said Uriel Hernandez, a member of the East Palo Alto Planning Commission.

Back in San Jose, the African-American Community Service Agency (AACSA) hosts the 39th annual MLK Luncheon.

“The dream is still alive. The dream that we’ll have equality in this country and it’s a struggle that continues today,” said Walter Wilson, a former board member of the AACSA.

Politicians, religious leaders, business titans, and regular citizens come to a hotel to hear, hope, and believe progress toward equality is still moving in the right direction.

“At a moment in our nation where we are so deeply divided, it is refreshing for all of us to celebrate something we all believe in together in the legacy of service of doctor king. A legacy of recognizing the imperative of the moment and rising to the challenge or rising to the challenge to fight for what we value the most,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo - (D) San Jose.

They are values spoken by the civil rights icon, that are still echoing through the conscience of our country.