MLK Day: Final Freedom Train in Bay Area ends 30 years of celebrating King’s …

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Caltrain’s ‘Freedom Train’ Makes Its Last Voyage On Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The last of the nation’s “Freedom Train” rides to pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. has made its final trip in California after more than 30 years of operation. SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Monday’s 54-mile round trip of the Bay Area’s Freedom Train from San Jose to San Francisco to honor the civil rights legacy of Dr. Anger over the tragedies in Ferguson and Staten Island were on the minds of middle and high school students as they pondered King’s strategy of linking arms, sitting in, boycotting buses and otherwise resisting injustice without throwing any projectiles. The train service was among more than two dozen “Freedom Trains” launched nationwide by Coretta Scott King to commemorate the march her husband led from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama nearly 50 years ago.

Association of Santa Clara Valley left the Caltrain’s Diridon Station in San Jose at about 9:45 a.m. on the holiday celebrating King’s birthday, Caltrain spokesman Will Reisman said. Tickets for all of the 1,400 seats available on the Caltrain train, which the association charters for the trip each year, were sold even though the group has announced that Monday’s excursion would be its last, Reisman said. Scott chose the San Jose-to-San Francisco route because the distance between the two cities is roughly equivalent to the 54 miles traveled by King and his fellow protesters. That march, to bring attention to civil rights and racial equality in the United States, is also being showcased in the Oscar-nominated movie “Selma” in current release.

But there are a lot of people who think nonviolence is weakness.’’ Aaries and David were two of 500 King students who spent Friday morning on the school’s annual tribute march down San Bruno Avenue. The train was to arrive in San Francisco at 11 a.m., where passengers planned to join a mile-and-a-half-long march to a celebration at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Peaceful protest can be an inconvenience, and the drivers of two cabs and a 9-San Bruno bus who were stuck behind the kids did a fair amount of honking. But a little inconvenience is one way things get noticed and changed, David said. “King’s message is lost when we don’t teach what he stood for,” Essien said, giving a friendly wave to stalled motorists, only some of whom waved back. “Anybody can get angry, but throwing rocks doesn’t help. You have to take control and change the circumstances.’’ Leaders from coast to coast will take to podiums Monday and declare, as they have for 52 years, that King’s 52-year-old dream has not yet come true.

They will say that last year’s deaths of young black men in Missouri and New York at the hands of white policemen are an indictment, even if the officers themselves were not indicted. At Lakeshore Elementary School, 6-year-old Jacob Anderson, as thoughtful a kindergartner as there is, looked at the signs in his King picture book that said “whites only” and said that was wrong. His teacher, Tyler Dickie, told the class at rug time that King “lived a long time ago when people didn’t share things.” She said he had a “big, powerful voice, just like Mr. She told her students that when King went to kindergarten, his class didn’t look like theirs does — where the kids sitting next to each other on the rug are white, black, Asian and Latino. Fourth-grade teacher Rich Mertes led his class in the “MLK Rock” song, which he composed. “He said put down your guns, you should let go, won’t ever get too far with that, only then can you hold your neighbor’s hand, hold his hand,” the kids sang, while Mertes strummed.

He would have been at the front of recent marches in downtown Oakland, the students said, but he would have been urging fellow marchers to put down their projectiles and take off their masks. “Nonviolence takes effort,” said Hatim Mansori, president of the union. “It’s not easy. In the Mission High hallways, students posted essays about the deaths last year of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y. But there was not any reason to shoot him until he died,” wrote student Laura Presentacion. “I saw on TV Brown did not have any weapon and the officer shot Brown 12 times. The train is operating this year only because police unions in the South Bay kicked in. “People don’t care,” Flynn said. “They don’t know who King is.

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