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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

MLK Monday: A Day of Action and Compassion

Fifteen years after civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Martin Luther King Jr. Day, first observed three years after that in 1986. For some, it’s a day off from work and possibly not much else. But for Napa, it is a day of action and compassion, filled with service to the community, remembrance of the slain leader, and a commitment to live together in peace.

After many years of celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy by Napa’s Interfaith community, a coalition was formed with the idea of incorporating service projects into the day, and reaching out to our larger, diverse Napa community. The MLK Monday Coalition includes local religious organizations, non-profits and community leaders. Last year, over a thousand residents participated in dozens of organized daytime activities and service projects; from planting trees, cleaning the river, writing letters to overseas service men and women, painting love rocks, learning about the basic tenants of Islam, and much more. Reverend Jay Lang, Center for Spiritual Living and co-chair of this year’s event, led a walk through downtown Napa featuring civil and human rights sights.

Co-chair Jeni Olsen and founder of Teens Connect said of the day, “It has been incredible to see our event grow bigger and more inclusive every year, and I could not be more excited about this year’s diverse line-up of speakers.”

This year’s event will begin Sunday, January 14th with a viewing and discussion of “13th” an American documentary which explores race and justice. The film will be shown at Congregation Beth Shalom.

On Monday, January 15th, the Parrish Hall at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church at 960 Caymus Street will be the central point for many of the day’s activities. Monday evening, people are invited to attend a Community Celebration, which will include a performance by the Vintage High Choral group and a mosaic of speakers. The coalition originally discussed bringing in an outside speaker to address the public, but then started talking about all the amazing men and women of service here in Napa. Ultimately they decided to feature short talks from a variety of Napa Community leaders, including Eduardo Rivera, Program Coordinator LGBTQ Connection; Charlie Toledo, Director of the Suscol Intertribal Council; Carlos Hagedorn, co-founder Legacy program; Irit Weir, Co-Coordinator of Women’s March Napa; and Talulah and Ruby Finkelstein, the two sisters who started the Napa Kindness Walk.

MLK Monday is intended as a day of inclusion, and the Coalition, which now numbers 40 people, will happily consider any projects or activities a group is interested in hosting. If you would like to join our coalition or to find out more information about MLK Monday, please visit our facebook page: @mlkmonday. To sign up to host a project, please visit

MLK Celebration – at a glance –

Sun., Jan. 14th • 6pm

Congregation Beth Shalom 1455 Elm Street

Short video of Joachim Prinz, followed by feature film “The 13th” (amendment)

Mon., Jan. 15th

9:30 - 5pm

St John. the Baptist Church Parrish Hall 960 Caymus Street

Over 20 activities as described.

Mon., Jan. 15th • 7pm

St. John the Baptist Church 960 Caymus Street

Community Celebration

– Free for all –


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