To mark the national holiday devoted to a civil rights leader’s memory, Napa groups are scheduling a slate of celebrations, films and public service this weekend.

The annual Days of Action and Compassion will start on Sunday and continue into Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A coalition of houses of worship, service groups and nonprofits is organizing the observance, which begins with the screening of two civil rights-themed films and will shift on the holiday to community service projects and an evening celebration gathering in downtown Napa.

Opening the program will be a presentation of “The Watsons Go to Birmingham” at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Napa County Library, 580 Coombs St. Later, at 6 p.m., Congregation Beth Shalom, 1455 Elm St., will screen the documentary “13th,” which explores the “intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the U.S.”

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, participants can volunteer in a variety of community projects, workshops and seminars scheduled for various time slots between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. A base camp for volunteers will be set up in the Parish Hall of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church at 924 Napa St.

Some of the projects will include:

— AAUW Stands with Dreamers, a postcard drive by the American Association of University Women to petition members of Congress to protect the residency of immigrants illegally brought into the U.S. by their parents as children;

— Napa Civil Rights History Walk, a tour of historic memorials in downtown Napa marking the legacy of African Americans, Chinese, Latinos and Native Americans in the community;

— Napa Valley Vine Trail Trail Clean-up and Tree Planting, during which volunteers will remove debris from the pathway near Hoffman Lane and plant four new trees;

— Intro to Islam, a discussion led by Omar Salem, a Napa police officer;

— Mindfulness Meditation for Compassion and Peace, a program sponsored by the Center for Spiritual Living Napa Valley;

The range of offerings for Napans to better their community and their understanding is a way to extend the holiday’s meaning beyond the memory of one man, according to Napa County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht, honorary chair of the coalition organizing the local events.

“We’ve built an organization over the last several years that has been more inclusive, that has had a broader vision of what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said Wednesday. “We’re trying to do more than celebrate one moment of Dr. King’s life; we’re trying to actively work toward the inclusion of everybody in our community.”

Volunteers can sign up for activities through the CVNL Marin & Napa website, The complete list of Monday service projects is available at

Later Monday, organizers will hold a community celebration of King and his civil rights legacy at St. John the Baptist church, 960 Caymus St., at 7 p.m.

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Scheduled speakers include:

— Eduardo Rivera, program coordinator of LGBTQ Connection;

— Charlie Toledo, director of the Suscol Intertribal Council;

— Carlos Hagedorn, co-founder of the Legacy Youth Project;

— Irit Weir, co-coordinator of Women’s March Napa;

— Tallulah and Ruby Finkelstein, the grade-school sisters who organized the Be Kind button campaign and march in July;

— Phil Ryan, a Napan who participated in the 1960s civil rights movement;

For more information on Napa’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances, follow the group @mlkmonday on Facebook.


City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.