Bay Area Comes Out to Honor MLK on the Celebration Train

Melissa Culross
January 20, 2020 - 4:10 pm
Singers that rode the Celebration Trade, which took riders from the South Bay to San Francisco to attend the MLK Day march, serenade the crowd at 4th Street CalTrain station in San Francisco on Monday, 20th, 2020.

Melissa Culross/KCBS Radio

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It's a Bay Area MLK Day tradition.

The Celebration Train takes more than a thousand people from San Jose and the Peninsula to San Francisco in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. every year during the holiday commemorating Dr. King and his work.

Denise James of San Jose took the train for the first time this year and loved it.

“It was great; the music, the people were talkative, everyone was helpful. It was nice,” said James.  

Pauline, a Florida native who was in town for a visit, joined the celebration and said there were trivia games along the ride.

“The train was actually packed and it’s good to see the trivia and the kids knew a lot about Martin Luther King. That was the fun part,” said Pauline.

Tasha Bartholomew is with CalTrain, which partners with the Northern California Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation for the event.

“The Celebration Train is something that we do every January. It’s a really fun family atmosphere that is very inclusive of all,” said Bartholomew. “People really respect the message that Dr. King gave so many years ago. I think it’s still very relevant today in terms of equal rights and peace.”

Once the train arrives in San Francisco, there is an MLK Day march, which is attended by people who ride the train and those who don't, such as 14-year old Jake Schall of Davis. He said marching is an important step toward improving society.

“There’s a lot of people and it’s just people getting together to fight racism, which I believe is important,” said Schall.

Tasha Eaton of San Jose didn't take the train, either, but she did come to San Francisco for the march.

“Me, my wife, my darling daughter…we’re all here to represent and be a part of the change, you know? Just be out here with the community, celebrate Martin Luther King and all his greatness and stand up for the cause,” said Eaton. “We’re going to cross over that bridge representing that monumental moment where Martin Luther King was with community organizers marching for freedom and everyone’s rights.”

Along with the march, there is an annual MLK Day celebration at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.