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The voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. resounds in the Bay Area

Youth Speaks event "Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

Protesters blocked an intersection at 42nd and International in Oakland over the weekend. Some gathered outside new mayor Libby Schaaf's house to wake her up with a "people's inauguration" this morning. Demonstrations calling attention to racism and inequality that continue around the Bay Area have resonant meaning today. They carry the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s calls for justice half-a-century ago.

Every year, San Francisco's Youth Speaks holds a special event on MLK Day: it’s a showcase where the organization's poets perform original works inspired by King’s life. The show takes place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Nourse Auditorium. The 18th annual event is called “Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

That’s one of several events taking place this weekend to honor the reverend. Celebrations of MLK day are ongoing until 7 at the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.

And there’s “Selma” – a new motion picture dramatizing King’s efforts in Alabama in 1965 to change national policy and allow African Americans to freely vote.

A coordinated effort by African American business leaders across the country has provided free tickets for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students to the see the movie over the weekend. Bay Area students can show their student ids or report cards at participating AMC, Century, Cinemark and other theaters to take advantage.

Ben handles daily operations in the news department, overseeing the editorial and sound engineering teams, delivering daily newscasts, producing the nightly news and culture show Crosscurrents, and supervising special projects including KALW's Audio Academy training program.