Santa Monica Celebrates The Life Of Martin Luther King, Jr. With Actor Gerald C. Rivers

Monday, 20 Jan 2014, 8:36:00 AM

Mitch James

Gerald C. Rivers is the keynote speaker at this year's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in Santa Monica.
Courtesy Photo
Gerald C. Rivers is the keynote speaker at this year's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in Santa Monica.

Actor Gerald C. Rivers – a multi-talented artist – will be the

keynote speaker, accompanied by singer Charles Holt, at the birthday

celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, Jan. 20, at the Soka

Gakkai International (SGI) Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.

The free event – one of the largest and most diverse celebrations of

its kind in Southern California – is scheduled for 9 am. The event is

sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition, a nonprofit

coalition whose missions are consistent with King’s legacy.

It is co-sponsored by Santa Monica College, the City of Santa Monica, the SMC Associates (, RAND Corporation, CityTV-Santa Monica, and SGI-USA.

This year’s celebration embraces the theme “Unity in the Community.”

The multi-ethnic, interfaith program will include inspirational

readings, speakers, music, and the MLK Education Awards.

Immediately following the program, a Community Involvement Fair

offering refreshments and informational displays by a variety of

community organizations will be held nearby at the SGI Youth Center, 606

Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.

Rivers and Holt have worked together in “Martin & Music,” a

groundbreaking stage production threading together Dr. King’s words with

music and narrative about his life and ideals.

Rivers – who grew up in Compton, studied theater at Los Angeles City

College, and then went on to Morehouse College – is renowned for his

portrayals of Dr. King and a noted scholar on the Civil Rights leader’s

words and work.

A classically trained Shakespearean actor and a company member at the

Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Rivers is also a voiceover artist for

video games and for TV commercials and films, as well as a master of the

African Djembe drum. The Center for the Advancement of Non Violence

presented Rivers with its 2012 Season for Non Violence Local Hero Award

in recognition of his work.

Holt is a Broadway performer and celebrated recording artist who has

starred in some of the most spectacular productions in American theatre

history, including “Smokey Joe’s Café,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and

“Lion King.”

He has been a guest star on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and

“All My Children,” as well as the award-winning independent film “Anne

B. Real” and the thought-provoking comedy “Ed’s Trip.”

Holt received national acclaim for his 20-character portrayal in his

one-man stage play “Black Boy,” based on Richard Wright’s bestselling

autobiography, as well as his portrayal of W.E.B. Du Bois in the one-man

production “The Smoke King.”

He describes his company, Charles Holt Productions, as “a ministry

committed to creating, performing, and producing vehicles that speak

life and that inspire a higher mind-set of consciousness and awareness.”

For more information about the event, call 310.941.9172.

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