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Journalist LZ Granderson Featured at MLK Virtual Celebration

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By Lookout Staff

January 13, 2022 -- Los Angeles Times columnist LZ Granderson will be this year's keynote speaker at Monday's 37th annual birthday celebration for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the largest and most diverse celebrations of its kind in Southern California, the Santa Monica event will be held online at 9 a.m. due to increased COVID-related concerns and restrictions, organizers said.

A link taking guests to the event hosted by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition will be posted at

"This year’s celebration embraces the theme 'The time is always right to do what is right,'” organizers said.

The multi-ethnic, interfaith program will include inspirational remarks, music by The Linda Alvarez Trio and spoken word by Get Lit – Words Ignite.

Get Lit will receive a Community Light Award at the event for its efforts "using poetry to increase literacy, empower youth, and inspire communities," organizers said.

The program also will feature the presentation of education awards to local students and a Lifetime Achievement Award to longtime community activist La Verne Ross.

LZ Granderson is the host of the Life Out Loud audio podcast, an Op-Ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times and a political contributor for ABC News.

For 17 years, he worked at ESPN, where he began his career as an editor for ESPN The Magazine helping oversee its NBA and tennis coverage and later wrote a regular column as a senior writer for

The award-winning journalist -- who recently joined Marvel Studios’ digital team -- was inducted in 2016 into the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Hall of Fame, which in 2011 had named him Journalist of the Year.

Granderson's columns have been recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists, as well as the Online News Association. His TED Talk on LGBTQ equality has more than 1.6 million views.

In addition to the January 17 virtual celebration, the “Weekend of Celebrations" includes the virtual program "Together We Rise!" this Friday at 8 a.m.

On Saturday at 2 p.m. the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra will present the "Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert." Organizers have not yet determined whether it will be virtual.

Event sponsors include the City of Santa Monica, SGI-USA, Santa Monica College Associates, Santa Monica College, Santa Monica/Westside Legacy Fund for Women and Girls, Rand Corporation, and Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council, and a variety of other organizations, individuals, and corporate contributors.

More details about the “Weekend of Celebrations" are available at

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