MLK2017 Highlights

Schedule     Transportation     March     Program     Health     King&Faith     Music     Black Comix Arts Festival     LFF Children     Volunteers     Donate

From January 13-16, 2017, thousands of celebrants of every age, background and walk of life came together for exciting programs, festivals and activities in honor of Dr. King. The 2017 celebration thought about the theme Justice in the Beloved Community. It included new programs in King & Faith Lecture Series that included internationally acclaimed scholars and theologians to discuss the theme of justice and the legacy of Dr. King. The second MLK Evensong was held at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of California, Grace Cathedral, the Martin Luther King Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, the Graduate Theological Union and many others and featured the MLK Singers – Passages. The nationally acclaimed Black Comix Arts Festival celebrated its third year, bringing best selling authors and comic artists to the celebration in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library.

SFMUNI, BART, CalTrain and Golden Gate Ferry were filled with celebrants from throughout the bay area. With nearly 15,000 free commemorative, round-trip rides from throughout the bay area, our MLK celebrations boast the nation’s premier MLK commemorative transporation program.

Here is a summary of MLK2017’s events and activities.


The MLK2017 Schedule highlighted the events commemorating Dr. King from January 13 – February 19. These events encompassed a full range of celebration and reflective activities for every age and walk of life.


Angelo Lopez chronicles his MLK2017 Caltrain and March/Parade experience in this video.

Each year the Foundation partners with local and regional transportation agencies to provide commemorative transportation to and from the celebration events.

Bay Area Rapid Transit commemorated Dr. King by partnering with the NorcalMLK Foundation in developing 5,000 commemorative MLK BART Passes, which provide complementary, round-trip travel to the MLK Celebrations.

In San Francisco residents were able to register for one of 5,000 MLK2017 Muni Commemorative Passes. Each San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency commemorates Dr. King by providing annual passes through NorcalMLK and via complementary shuttle service during the annual march/parade.

On the peninsula, over 1,500 residents were able to catch the Caltrain NorcalMLK Celebration Train. NorcalMLK and Caltrain partner together annually to continue the legacy begun by the late Coretta Scott King by providing special, free commemorative MLK train service for south Bay and peninsula celebrants.

And, in Marin. Residents were able to take the MLK2017 Freedom Ferry. The Golden Gate Transit system has provided commemorative service via Golden Gate Ferry for Marin and Sonoma County residents since 2004.


Video courtesy of Stanford Journalism

Thousands honored the Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama marches and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by experiencing the MLK2017 commemorative march/parade from San Francisco’s Caltrain Station to Yerba Buena Gardens. The march began at 11:00am on Monday, January 16, 2017, and participants traversed a 1.5 mile journey across the Lefty O’Doul Bridge and past Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park to commemorate the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, a symbol of violence and victory in the civil rights movement.

Groups were able to register and march together.

At the conclusion of the march, in partnership with the San Francisco Interfaith Council, an interfaith commemoration brought together the region’s faith leaders to commemorate the vision of Dr. King and to lead participants in a spiritual reflection of his message.


Video courtesy of the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation

The marquis event of the celebration day brought Justice in the Beloved Community to life with our Grade-A Social Justice panel in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts theater, featuring leading activists, former NBA All-Star Baron Davis, Clayborne Carson – director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Yolanda Jackson – Executive Director of the San Francisco Bar Association, award-winning artists, journalists and administrators. They were in conversation with two-time Peabody and three-time Morrow Award-winning investigative journalist and host of Reveal, Al Letson.


Raw footage of the MLK2017 Health and Wellness Festival courtesy of French American TV

In partnership with SFEnvironment, The San Francisco Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, the American Red Cross, San Francisco Aids Foundation BBE program, along with numerous special programs and services, the MLK2017 Health and Wellness Festival brought together the region’s health providers for a one-day event of free services and exciting activities during the MLK celebration. The goal is to promote health, wellness, sustainability, and preparedness as essential elements of fair, just, and vibrant communities.

Raw footage of the MLK2017 Health and Wellness Festival courtesy of French American TV


King and Faith Lecture from Grace Cathedral on Vimeo.

NorcalMLK’s King & Faith Lectures is part of our goal of engaging the wider scholarly, religious, and general population in contemporary contemplation of Dr. King, his message, and his symbology. NorcalMLK’s King & Faith program is produced in partnership with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, the Graduate Theological Union, the Episcopal Diocese of California, San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, the Tabernacle Community Development Corporation, the San Francisco Interfaith Council and many others.

The 2017 King & Faith Lectures featured the wider scholarly, theological, clerical and lay communities in contemporary contemplation of Dr. King, his message, and his symbology. Key questions about freedom and liberation brought to the forefront the need to make space for those voices that are often displaced.
The public programs began on January 13. The King and Faith Lectures landing page provided full information on the series.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University hosted the community to two events.
On Friday, January 13, the institute hosted a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of King’s publication, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, with refreshments, musical performances, and exhibit, at the King Institute. And, on Sunday, January 15, 10am, the series continued in honor King’s life at the MLK Service at Stanford Memorial Church.

As part of the MLK events, NorcalMLK’s partner, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, hosted the MLK Interfaith Commemoration on the Esplanade Stage at Yerba Buena Gardens, enabling celebrants from all walks of life to come together in ecumenical reflection.

MLK2017 Interfaith Evensong (audio)

MLK2017 King & Faith Lecture Series Panel – January 22

MLK2017 King & Faith Lecture Series Panel – January 29

Video courtesy of the NorcalMLK Foundation


Raw footage of the MLK2017 Music Festival courtesy of French American TV

For seven years the afternoon at MLK2017 has been filled with live music and poetry from Grammy-winning singers, musicians and artists on the Esplanade Stage in Yerba Buena Gardens and in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater. The MLK Music Festival partnership with the producer of Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and in association with KBLX radio. MLK2017 brought to the stage Grammy-nominated zydeco great Andre Thierry, the Passages Singers, and Samba Funk (see video).


Raw footage of the BCAF2017 Expo courtesy of French American TV

The Black Comix Arts Festival(BCAF) celebrates African Americans’ creativity in the comic arts and popular visual culture and is dedicated to the notion that all audiences deserve to be subject in the culture in which we participate. The two-day event includes a grand expo, kids activities, film screenings, panels and conversations, cosplay events and much more.
A partnership with the San Francisco Public Library, USA Today editors and readers chose BCAF2015 as one of America’s ten best art festivals.
BCAF2017 opened on January 15 at the San Francisco Public Library’s Koret Auditorium with conversations and presentations by award-winning authors and artists.  And Monday, January 16, saw the BCAF Expo at the City View at Metreon.
Three posters by our BCAF2017 character artist Julie Anderson and poster designer John Jennings:
BCAF2017 Poster/Flyer 1
BCAF2017 Poster/Flyer 2
BCAF2017 Poster/Flyer 3

footage of the BCAF2017 Conversations courtesy of The San Francisco Public Library


The Liberation Film Festival (LFF) is dedicated to bringing short-format cinema and human interest documentaries to the public through innovative programs designed to engage new and diverse audiences.

2017 marked the seventh annual LFF and featured human interest and civil rights documentaries and conversations. A partnership with California Newsreel, the screenings are free and open to the public.

LFF ran from 10:00am – 6:00pm and is scheduled for screening in the Latino Conference Room at the San Francisco Public Library – MainYerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater and Screening Room, the Freedom Theater at the Museum of the African Diaspora.
The LFF landing page provides a full description of screenings.


Raw footage courtesy of French American TV

Hundreds of children and youth learn about Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement at MLK2017. Through the children’s activities young celebrants participated in fun and engaging activities, including coding exercises with Google and public speaking during the MLK2017 Interfaith Commemoration. Also, at the annual Black Comix Arts Festival children’s comix, games, and interactive events gave kids the opportunity to engage in comic and animation activities. In addition, many of the museums had MLK activities to add to the experience.


Our volunteers are the life-blood of our celebration weekend. And , there were over 500 volunteer opportunities at MLK2017! Community groups, companies and friends served in the many capacities available.

During MLK2017, we tested a new volunteer management approach. As a result of this change, NorcalMLK experienced some communication difficulties that caused a measure of confusion for our volunteers. We have identified those concerns and have polled our volunteers to see what we can do better. Those responses and our internal investigations have led us to implement a more streamlined sign-up and management system during day-of events that we believe will make for a more valuable experience for those committed to serving.

By giving to NorcalMLK you are making an impact to better communities. Consider making a tax-exempt donation here.

Find out more about the NorcalMLK Foundation.


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