SAN JOSE, Calif. - People across the Bay Area found safe ways to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, even in the middle of the pandemic.
At San Tomas Park near San Jose, volunteers were not celebrating Dr. King's birthday as a day off, but as a day on.
"[It's] a great way for us all to still appreciate what he was able to do for us all and give back to our community," said Elizabeth Krienke, who coordinated the volunteers.
Dr. King once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?"
Those folks at the park were answering that call by weeding, trimming back plants, and picking up litter. It was a day of service that even the coronavirus couldn't stop.
"It feels good. Sometimes you are isolated in your house and you think everything else is falling apart, if you come out and get involved you can be part of the solution," said Maria Franca of Campbell In El Cerrito, because of COVID, the annual parade down San Pablo Avenue became a caravan, topped off with a rally at the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station.
"With the pandemic, we don't hardly do anything we used to. But Dr. King's dream will stay alive," said organizer Patricia Durham.
In a country that has seen a pandemic, marches for racial justice in the wake of the George Floyd's killing by police, and an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, many say Dr. King's message seems more timely than ever. He once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"The violence we witnessed, myself first hand, it reminds us once again of Dr. King's commitment to non-violence and peace. This is the only option," said East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who was part of a virtual celebration Oakland held to celebrate Dr. King's birthday
"It's because of leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that paved the way for me to start my own business in Oakland, for me to walk into any restaurant in the United States of America," said Dwayne Aikens of Oakland.