The Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center promotes the principles of nonviolence and offers an environment where young people actively seek peaceful, nonviolent solutions to the difficult challenges we all face in our communities. The Freedom Center serves individuals, organizations, schools and communities in the Greater Bay Area.
In 1987, East Oakland community activist Ira Jinkins planted a magnolia tree in San Leandro Shoreline Park in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1993 Jinkins’ lone tree was expanded to an entire grove of trees and a native plant garden by the East Bay Regional Park District. The park was renamed Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline Park at that time.
Soon after, Jinkins, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the East Oakland community came together to discuss the creation of a regional center dedicated to Dr. King’s ideals of non-violence, social change, racial and economic justice, and a peaceful world.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center actively:
- Fosters learning about the life, influence and continuing dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders in the movement for civil rights and nonviolence;
- Provides children, youth, and families with a safe haven to participate in structured activities and programs that foster the development of healthy, well rounded individuals and communities;
- Provides resources to public agencies and private organizations which teach conflict resolution skills and promote violence prevention and positive behavior, particularly among youth;
- Provides an opportunity for the public in general, and young people in particular, to learn about and appreciate ecological treasures;
- Offers a natural and peaceful experience in sections of Alameda County’s diverse parks and natural habitats for workshops, retreats and classes;
- Supports economic development by providing opportunities for internships and career training in traditional and emerging fields including meditation, conflict management and violence prevention as well as environmental education, restoration and green jobs; and
- Works in collaboration with existing organizations to educate and provide resources to surrounding communities