Public Safety Director's Spotlight - Jan. 12, 2011

Being vigilant in 2011, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities

January 12, 2011 | 5 min reading time

Last Saturday our nation was stunned by the senseless act of violence that took place at a routine meet-and-greet event in Tucson, AZ held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims and their families, and I encourage all of us to reflect on the words of Rep. Giffords' brother-in-law, Space station commander Scott Kelly. After the moment of silence Monday that was part of the national observance for all the victims of Saturday's shooting, he said words to the effect that as he looked out the window of the International Space Station he could see Earth, a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful, but it is not. "These days, we are constantly reminded of the unspeakable acts of violence and damage we can inflict upon one another, not just with our actions, but also with our irresponsible words," he said. "We're better than this. We must do better."

For me, one homicide is one too many. In 2010, we lost 144 St. Louisans to homicide. Could some of these acts of violence been prevented? Simply, YES! Did someone know ahead of time that some of these acts of violence were going to take place, but did nothing to stop them? Probably. We, as human beings with all our capacity to think and reason, are better than this. We must do better. Let us resolve ourselves to be more vigilant in 2011 and to be the change we seek in our interaction with other people and our service in our neighborhoods.

Saturday, Jan. 15 will mark what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 82nd birthday, and our nation will officially observe Dr. King's birthday on Monday, Jan. 17. A number of events relative to the Dr. King Holiday are scheduled for the coming weekend in addition to the usual exciting, fun activities that are held in St. Louis on the weekends. Listed below are a few neighborhood events that you, family and friends may find of interest. I encourage you to stop by those in your neighborhood as well as consider exploring neighborhoods new to you. They are perfect places to meet friends and neighbors or go to in support of worthy causes. See you in the neighborhood!

Eagle Days

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is an ideal location for visitors to view eagles fishing, riding ice floes, soaring overhead or roosting in nearby trees. Confluence will be holding its annual Eagle Days event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, Jan. 16 at Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. Additional programming includes a live eagle educational program, special viewing scopes staffed by trained volunteers, living history demonstrations and warming tent activities including children's art. For more information, visit .

Zoo Job Fair

Have you ever wondered what it's like to work behind the scenes at the Zoo? Or do you have a young person in your family who might be interested in such an opportunity? The St. Louis Zoo will be holding a Job Fair from 9 a.m. to Noon, Saturday, Jan. 15 at the Living World at the Zoo for part-time spring, summer and fall employment. For more details, visit .

The Loop Ice Carnival

The Loop Ice Carnival will take place this Saturday, Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. along Delmar Blvd. in the Loop. Visitors will be able to see more than 56 ice sculptures, ice carving demonstrations, dog-sled races, participate in a scavenger hunt, enjoy music, games, arts & crafts and more. For all the particulars, go to .

Genealogy Workshop

In conjunction with the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Missouri History Museum will hold an African-American History and Genealogy Workshop on Saturday, Jan. 15 from 1 – 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and presented by the St. Louis African American History & Genealogy Society. For a complete list of programs, please visit .

Stand-in For Peace

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a true warrior for peace, the League of African American Women will hold "Sisters United Against the Violence" from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16 at the corner of Natural Bridge and Newstead Avenue. The goal is to send a message to our young men and women to cease the self-destruction. Participants are asked to wear white. For more information, call (314) 473-6897 or visit .

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities

The 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Breakfast will be held at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 17 at Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. The event is being presented by the YMCA of Greater St. Louis, the Metropolitan St. Louis Clergy Coalition and the St. Louis Pan-Hellenic Council Inc. of St. Louis. For more information, contact the Monsanto Y at 367-4646.

Many people in St. Louis and across the country will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day by participating in a Community Day of Service project. Service projects normally take place between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the Dr. King Holiday. Church groups, neighborhood association members, classmates, neighbors, families and friends can plan to gather together on Monday and make a difference on their block, in their neighborhood, at their school or wherever else they see a need to be addressed. For project ideas and tips and to see what's been planned for Dr. King Day in other cities across America, visit .

At 10 a.m. various speakers will make remarks at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Civic Ceremony at the Old Courthouse, at 4th and Market Streets. Immediately following the ceremony at approximately 11 a.m. a celebration march will head from Downtown to Powell Symphony Hall for an Interfaith Service that will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m.


Have you signed up for free Nixle service yet? The Department of Public Safety's City Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) provides free emergency alert service through  When you sign up, you will receive our informative and timely text messages on your cell phone and/or as e-mails on your computer. I invite you to visit the Nixle webpage and sign up for the service today.  If you have any comments about the service, please let me know.

Having an event in your neighborhood that we can support? Either e-mail the information about it to me at or to Cathy Smentkowski at

And remember, if you see something in the neighborhood that just doesn't look right, REPORT IT!


Charles Bryson

Director of Public Safety

City of St. Louis

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