There is usually a choir, a poetry reading, an essay, perhaps a few notable speakers.
But this year, to celebrate what would have been the 67th birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., the San Fernando Valley branch of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People did something different.
On Monday, the branch held its first African American agenda summit. "It was just folks--not any high-powered officials or anything," said the Rev. Zedar E. Broadous, president of the NAACP's Valley branch.
"We decided that Martin Luther King had a dream," Broadous said. "And at some point or another, to make that dream a reality, it will take us sitting down and working things out and talking together. This was the beginning of that."
King was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.
Broadous said about 35 people attended the summit, held at the Pacoima Community Center.
Topics included community beautification, graffiti removal and developing economic and educational opportunities. Voter registration and political issues, including the importance of preserving government affirmative action policies, were also discussed.
The summit attracted quite a few young people, Broadous said. "They are interested in finding out about the kinds of jobs that are available here in the Valley. We talked about bringing colleges into their schools to talk about careers" as well as getting Valley businesses to open their doors to students who are interested in learning how the world of commerce works.