HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- On Monday night in the East Bay, a civil rights advocate who survived the Birmingham church bombing 55 years ago spoke about Martin Luther King's legacy.
The event was just one of many remembering Dr. King in the Bay Area.
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Through song and remembrance, hundreds celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday at Chabot College in Hayward Monday night.
Civil rights advocate Carolyn McKinstry, a witness to the 1963 Birmingham Church bombing, spoke of the slain leader's work to end injustice and racism.
"When we think about some of the things that have happened, it should propel us to a point where we want to make sure none of those things happen again," said McKinstry.
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The event also recognized two people from Hayward with the Community Award, which included Kay Thomas-- a volunteer at the local library for more than 20 years.
"This was a shock, I mean a pleasant shock. So much so, I didn't even know what to say when they called my name, I just didn't have words," said Thomas.
Earlier in the day, many rode the train from San Jose to San Francisco-- an annual tradition to reflect on MLK's legacy.
At Yerba Buena Gardens, those who spoke emphasized Dr. King's message of unity, including politicians.
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"As I say to my colleagues, our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Many used the holiday as a day of service. More than 100 volunteers at Campbell's San Tomas Park worked on a park beautification project. "It's amazing to be able to provide the education of environmental stewardship and the importance of planting trees and how it benefits the community," said Briana Horta of Our City Forest.
The message of coming together continues to inspire people of all backgrounds.
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Events across the Bay Area remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.