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HISTORY

History of South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon

A few years before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday became a National Holiday, a few individuals from IBM, in the South Bay, began to have lunch in his honor to celebrate his life and legacy.

This idea eventually extended throughout Oakland, Palo Alto and San Francisco. San Jose remains the only city that has continued to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. legacy over the past 27 years. Our audience has been in numbers from 25 to over 900 people. We've gathered at hotels, community centers, churches and Lou's Village over the past 27 years.

Each year the South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon Committee awards two community leaders for the work and service they have provided in this community. One of the honoree will receive the Gene Young Award in honor of one of the founders of the South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon; the other honoree will receive the Drum Major Award, given to the un-sung heroes, we believe carries on the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2004, we joined a new non-profit organization called AFRISE Institute, empowering opportunities for young people of color through education, leadership development & award incentives. The Annual South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon is being jointly presented by the South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon Committee and the Live the Dream Foundation of Silicon Valley.

That year for the first time, we joined in collaboration with the Live the Dream Foundation of Silicon Valley to collectively present the 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon. This partnership provides an extensive team of committed individuals to the values and standards of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now hosted by the African American Community Service Agency, the proceeds raised from the Martin Luther King Luncheon go towards our programs that serve our youth such as the AACSA Leadership Academy, Summer Day Camp, the Toys for Tots Holiday Program and Afterschool Literacy Program.

A community event since 1980, the annual Martin Luther King Luncheon has been an important part of the celebration of the Martin Luther King holiday. The MLK Luncheon unites a combination of community and trade organizations, corporations, philanthropists, and students for a one-of-a-kind affair.

The MLK Luncheon has grown into one of the must-attend events for the observation of the holiday. Originally organized by five IBM employees, the luncheon itself has grown from being attended by its original five founders to a crowd as large as 900 people.