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Candlelight vigil to take place in lieu of Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday

The vigil wil begin at outside All Saints Church in Pasadena at 6:30 pm tonight. (Thinkstock)
The vigil wil begin at outside All Saints Church in Pasadena at 6:30 pm tonight. (Thinkstock)

A “Candlelight Vigil for Peace and Justice” will begin outside All Saints Church in Pasadena tonight on the eve of the federal holiday marking the birth of Martin Luther King Jr.

The vigil will begin at 6:30 p.m., with participants walking from the church south along Euclid Avenue, holding signs heralding peace, according to organizers.

They will then travel to Union Street and Pasadena City Hall, where they will pause for prayer and listen to speeches by the Rev. Ed Bacon, the rector at All Saints Church, and a student from The Peace and Justice Academy, described as a sixth-through-12th grade school in Pasadena whose directors offers “life lessons in service and social justice.”‘

The vigil will be preceded by a 5 p.m. special service of prayer, meditation and music at All Saints Church known as Jazz Vespers. The musical selections will include a rendition of “We Shall Overcome,” the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.

At Temple Israel of Hollywood, a concert with a diverse array of participants will begin at 7 p.m. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King delivering a sermon at the synagogue.

An audio recording of a portion of the sermon King delivered on Feb. 26, 1965, will be played during a choir singing “We Shall Overcome,” according to composer Michael Skloff, the concert’s producer.

“We’re not just celebrating the achievements of Dr. King,” Skloff said. “We’re showing our gratitude to Dr. King but at the same time we’re showing video and talking about examples of racial issues we’re having in our country and abroad today.

“We plan to make this a current event, with the message being the work is far from over. In fact, it seems to be starting over again.”

Talk show host Tavis Smiley will deliver the keynote speech and is expected to discuss his recently published book, “Death of King,” about the final 12 months of King’s life.

A Latino Catholic priest, Episcopal priest, Korean and black ministers, a Muslim imam and Temple Israel of Hollywood Rabbi John L. Rosove will participate in the concert.

Gospel soloists, an Iranian musical group singing in Farsi, a Mexican- American band and a Korean dance company will be among the concert’s more than 130 participants, Skloff said.

“We’re really trying to represent the spirit of everything Dr. King stood for, a coming together, people transcending their superficial differences to come to realize we’re all in this together and if we don’t unite, we’re just going to keep repeating the same violent mistakes over and over again,” Skloff told City News Service.

Mayor Eric Garcetti is scheduled to attend, along with congregation members who were present for King’s 1965 sermon.

In connection with the federal holiday marking King’s birth, Temple Israel of Hollywood will hold its third annual MLK Day Clothes Drive and Community Breakfast from 9 a.m.-noon Monday at 6111 Melrose Ave. Gently used clothing can also be donated at tonight’s concert to benefit the drive.

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