Honored for All Lifetimes

By Giving List Staff   |   November 4, 2021

Isaac Garrett was 22 years old in 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Garrett had moved to Santa Barbara from his native Louisiana just a few years before and by then he was already community minded. He would serve on the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury and become the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, fighting for equal rights and leading a life of civic duty that would make Dr. King himself proud.

Years following King’s death, several community organizers, including Shirley Kennedy and Sojourner Kincaid-Rolle, organized a two-hour service on Dr. King’s birthday. In 2008, that commitment to Dr. King, the man, his methods, and what he stood for, crystallized into the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara (MLKSB), for which Garrett was one of the founding members. Through a series of community programs and events, MLKSB is committed to fostering positive relationships between multiple community groups in Santa Barbara.

Garrett is 80 years old now, a soft-spoken man who lives by the words of his favorite Dr. King quote: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” As long as his health permits, Garrett says he will continue to follow Dr. King’s teachings.

“We believe that actions speak louder than words,” he says. “Regardless of what you say, your behavior determines what you are all about.”

MLKSB has organized annual Unity Marches since 2008, and remains steadfast on the front lines of social justice. Earlier in 2021, it hosted a town hall meeting to press government officials for statistics on how minority communities have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and to push for solutions to help those communities. It’s part of Dr. King’s credo to speak rather than remain silent for your friends.

“Every adult has a duty and responsibility to do what’s right by your fellow man each day,” Garrett says, “and also to encourage your brother that you work alongside to do the same.” 


Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara

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Matching Challenge

Through December 31, 2022, the first $2,500 donated will be matched thanks to a generous challenge from the Giving List’s novel matching program.

MLK Essay & Poetry Contest

Programs of the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara (MLKSB) primarily focus on social justice issues, that promote positive relationships between diverse groups in our community. Every year the MLKSB hosts a children’s Essay and Poetry Awards Program, ages six to 18 in which students write about their thoughts and beliefs on the MLKSB theme for the year.

Donations help to pay for publicity, technical support, and minor scholarships for students. We feel that it’s very important that our kids know about our national heroes,” Isaac Garrett says. “And this Awards Program is a great way for them to do it.”


The mission of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara is to foster positive relationships between the many diverse groups in the Santa Barbara Community and the surrounding areas; to sponsor programs and events which exemplify the teachings of Dr. King; and to observe, and celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

Phone: (805) 259-5782
President: E. Onja Brown Lawson

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‘Love, Respect, Equity’

I have always felt our nation owed a huge debt of gratitude to Martin Luther King Jr. with his commitment to nonviolence that guided us out of troubled times and a hurtful past. This extraordinary man gave our nation a chance to redeem itself and the soul of America. Every year I am so moved to participate in the annual celebration the local MLKSB chapter organizes with such care and beauty, inviting the whole community to share in his memory and legacy. A great man had a dream; thank you MLKSB for helping to keep the dream alive.
Margie Bushman
Co-Founder & President of Santa Barbara
Permaculture Network Educational Nonprofit

Key Supporters

Anita Blume
Juliet Betita
Dr. Jamece Brown
Rabbi Steve Cohen
Derrick Curtis
John E. and Nansie Douglas
Shireen Faizullabhoy
Rev. J.B. Ficklin
Christine “Chrissy” Gilbert
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
Beverly King
Frances Moore
Melvin Richey
Linda Ryles
Toni Schultheis
Wendy Sims-Moten
Betsy Shelby
Dr. and Mrs. Earl Stewart
Delvis Stoute
Judi Weisbart