A few years before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday became a National Holiday, a few individuals from IBM, in the South Bay region of California, began to have lunch in his honor to celebrate his life and legacy. A community event since 1980, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon has been an important part of the celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in the South Bay. The MLK Luncheon unites a combination of community and trade organizations, corporations, philanthropists, and students for a one-of-a-kind affair. The luncheon is inspirational, edgy, and serves as a constant reminder that, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but It bends toward justice," as Dr. King noted in one of his famous speeches. The annual event has continued to ignite the flame for service unto one another; AACSA has developed the luncheon into one of the must-attend events for the observation of the holiday.
With African American Community Service Agency (AACSA) honoring tradition and keeping the dream alive, San Jose and Santa Clara County have been steadfast in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy in various ways, recognizing members who are impacting the community as well as shedding light on AACSA programs and services. Over the past 42 years, our audience has increased from 25 to over 900 people who have gathered at hotels, community centers, churches, and Lou's Village. Formerly, the South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon committee honored two community leaders for the work and service they had provided in this community. Now, four awards will be bestowed to honorees in the categories: the Spirit of Service, Drum Major, Facing the Challenge, and the Gene Young Awards in honor of one of the founders of the South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon.
The Annual South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon was formerly jointly presented by the South Bay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon Committee and the Live the Dream Foundation of Silicon Valley. A partnership was formed in collaboration with the Live the Dream Foundation of Silicon Valley to collectively present at the 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon in 2008. This partnership contributed an extensive team of committed individuals to the values and standards of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 29th Luncheon was entrusted to the African American Community Service Agency and AACSA has hosted every luncheon since then. The proceeds raised from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon go towards AACSA’s programs and services that serve the Santa Clara County community through six pillars of Education, Health and Wellness, Social Services, Economic Development, Family Resource Center (FIRST 5 Santa Clara County), Social and Racial Justice.which include Policy and Advocacy work, the AACSA Leadership Academy, closing the digital divide, homelessness prevention, and more programs and services.
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. AACSA is proud to have carried the torch for the founders and committee members who asked AACSA to take the luncheon forward for the purpose of inspiring the dreams that Dr. King envisioned.