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BART celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy

on January 20, 2011

A crowd of Bay Area Rapid Transit employees and community members filled up the Kaiser Center Auditorium in downtown Oakland on Wednesday. They were there to celebrate and remember the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and see performances from the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and the Oakland School of the Arts.

“We are lucky to reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of opportunity and peace,” said Dorothy Dugger, BART’s general manager and one of the speakers at the event. “Music feeds the soul and lifts our spirits,” she said. The crowd listened intently and clapped along as each musical group took the stage. Performances included a drum ensemble, jazz group, flautists and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir.

BART has been hosting this annual celebration for its employees and community members for the last 25 years.

“Dr. King was at the forefront of the civil rights movement,” said Irene Gray, chairperson of BART’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemoration Committee. “There are BART employees that still remember those times and his speeches.”

Each year, this committee puts together this event, which includes speakers and some type of entertainment. “At BART we commemorate his legacy,” said Gray. “We try to keep that history alive—the dream of peace and equality.”

The host of the event, Lynette Sweet, who is on the BART Board of Directors, wrapped up the event by saying, “Join us in spirit, community and love and let’s take Dr. King’s message of hope and equality and bring it into our everyday lives.” Then the entire crowd stood up and sang along with the Interfaith Gospel Choir to the historical black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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