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Remembering Martin

UC Riverside and Riverside Community College Celebrate Dr. King

College Students and High School Students Team Up to Paint a Mobile Mural

(January 18, 2005)

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- A $10,000 grant from California State University, Fullerton and the California Service Corps will help fund “The Hands of History Celebrating Dr. King,” a series of events coordinated by UC Riverside’s Division of Student Affairs and African Student Programs.

Appropriately enough, the program kicked off Monday, Jan. 17, on the national holiday celebrating the legacy of the Civil Rights leader. This first event, called “A Day to Remember, Celebrate and Act,” consisted of several activities near City Hall, during the community celebration of Dr. King.

Local muralist and North High School instructor Von Rossner, along with two UC Riverside students, two students at Riverside Community College and 10 high-school youth, will soon begin work on a project related to Dr. King.
The students will study Dr. King, and then tour area schools, to present lessons in art, language arts and history that relate to the values represented by Dr. King’s legacy, courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service.

The project will result in the creation of a mobile mural depicting Dr. King and Riverside’s own African-American history. The mural will be unveiled March 31, two days before Cesar Chavez Day, in a partnership event with UC Riverside’s Chicano Student Programs. The mural will then find a permanent home at the new UC Riverside Student Commons building now in construction.

The grant will help pay for stipends, curriculum, transportation and materials.
“Soon, we will begin the process of selecting the high school students who will be involved,” said Lucia Ortega-Villasana, director of resource development for the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. “There is a Feb. 7 deadline for applications. We are looking for students who can commit two or three hours a day to the project, and have a background in art.”

The project also brings together UC Riverside organizations with the Riverside African-American Historical Society and the Riverside MLK Visionaries Foundation. These organizations will assist the students in learning more about African-American history in Riverside.

“It will be a cross-section of historical information, reflection and personal testimonies,” Ortega-Villasana said.

The formation of a service-learning program promotes the increasingly popular notion that Dr. King’s birthday should not only be observed as a day of reflection, but also a day of positive action, Ortega-Villasana said.
“The kids involved will learn how to change, create and find solutions,” she said. “The day celebrating Dr. King is evolving to a day that means positive action in communities.”

For more information contact Lucia Ortega-Villasana at (951) 827-6087 or Ken Simons, director of African Student Programs, at (951) 827-4576.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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