The All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena held an open space for expression to commemorate Martin Luther King Day Celebration on Saturday before a musical procession led to a picnic back on Euclid Street in memory of two activists.
The event was primarily intended for youth and marked the start of a few services and events held by the All Saints Church this past weekend.
People gathered to make art in remembrance of nun-turned-artist/activist Frances Elizabeth Kent – better known as Corita Kent, or Sister Mary Corita Kent – before the procession.
All Saints Church administrator Christina Honchell mentioned how both Kent and King were activists around the same time in the 1960s, and spoke on issues such as the Vietnam War, racism and economic injustices.
“I think there’s a natural connection there,” said Honchell after the procession. “They were both activists, they were both brave and did amazing, courageous, things, but in very different ways. I think it’s really wonderful to celebrate that.”
Singer/songwriter Michelle Bloom and youth minister Isaac Ruelas expressed their views on social issues by singing and reciting a poem about their sentiments.
“It really blows my mind that we still have a society where we’re O.K. with violence,” said Ruelas. “Specifically sanctioned violence against marginalized groups of people. In the poem, I talked about people who are standing up for justice and peace, and how the consequence is how you then become a target of violence.”
People gathered to make banners for joy and peace in their community while songs about caring for Mother Earth and poetry about social injustices were performed. The event attendees ranged from activists, to teachers, to church-goers.
“All my life, I have believed that community art making is one of the most health promoting activities we can possibly do among ourselves,” said former activist Linda Hoag. “I think people become afraid of one another and to have any activity that displaces that thought, what a good idea.”
The procession was short, but sweet. It started in front of the church with people donning faux flower crowns, made its way to the Pasadena Museum of California Art to hear the Japanese-style drumming from UCLA students and made its way back to Euclid Street for food trucks on the church grounds as well as music and public health education across the street at the non-profit organization Day One.
“I think the most important part is giving an opportunity for the community to come together,” said executive director of Day One, Christy Zamani. “When you get to see so many people who think the same way you do – despite how they look or if you have assumptions of when you’re in a minority community and think, ‘Do (people) understand? Do they care? And everyone comes together, you see there’s social justice issues that matter to everyone.”