USD Participates in Local Weekend Recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy

Martin Luther King Jr.’s impact lives on in the thoughts and hearts of people all across the nation on a daily basis, but perhaps one of the most fervent times his message and the examples he taught so vividly are celebrated comes in mid-January.

MLKJr Weekend 2018

Dr. King, who would have turned 89 on Jan. 15, is annually recognized with a holiday that always values community action and work rather than rest. For the University of San Diego community, led by President James T. Harris, this past weekend was a chance to come together, be together and strengthen and build community throughout San Diego.

Three annual city events included USD representation at each one, starting with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Educators’ Breakfast at the Jackie Robinson YMCA Center, on Jan. 13. In attendance from the USD contingent were: President Harris; Current Associated Students President and USD senior, Will Tate; Black Student Resource Center Director Ashley Barton; United Front Multicultural Center Director Mayte Perez-Franco; Associate Vice President for Community Engagement and Anchor Activities Chris Nayve; Vice President of University Relations, Tim O’Malley; Political Science and International Relations Professor and USD Changemaker Hub Director Michael Williams; and Malia Pfister who works within USD’s Office of Community and Government Relations.

That was followed by USD’s participation in the 38th annual San Diego Martin Luther King Jr. Parade that went down Harbor Boulevard along the Embarcadero in downtown San Diego.

President Harris, Dr. O’Malley, Dr. Barton, Pfister and Tate walked alongside a host of USD student-athletes from men and women’s basketball, men and women’s rowing, women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, the USD Spirit Team (dance and cheer members), USD Athletics administrators, coaches and staff, the USD Bull Pit, mascot Diego Torero, as well as student leaders from Associated Students. There were also USD alumni who were among the many community organizations represented in the parade.

On Monday, Jan. 15, a USD group attended the 30th annual All Peoples’ Breakfast at the Balboa Park Activity Center. The program, hosted by Alliance San Diego, featured musical, dance, and spoken-word performances along with a keynote speech by social justice trailblazer Eva Paterson. Former Associated Students President and USD alumnus Christopher Wilson, who is the associate director of Alliance San Diego, delivered welcoming remarks. The theme of this impactful event was STAND, as in, “to stand in recognition of the moment we're in, the need to stand up, stand in, and stand with each other so we can move forward together.”

Numerous USD community members attended, including Barton; Patty O’Deane, outreach coordinator/interpreter for the USD Legal Clinics; Jessica Cortez ’14; Bahar Davary, PhD, Theology and Religious Studies Professor; John Loggins, director of Community Engaged Learning for the Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness and Social Action; Maria Silva, director of Neighborhood and Community-Engaged Partnerships for the Mulvaney Center; Jocelyn Olguin ‘17, a community and economic development AmeriCorps VISTA member, which is in partnership with Bayside Community Center and USD’s Mulvaney Center; and Retired USD Associate Professor of English, Gail Perez, a 1975 USD alumna and current adjunct lecturer of English.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone