Feature of the Week
January 26, 2020
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About Artful Arrangements Starting the 74th year of the Miss Sonoma County competition Friendly greetings at The Studio salon RP City Managers then and now A dedicated Sonoma County gentleman Astronaut has high hopes Cotati Chamber of Commerce celebrates 60 years SSU ranked as U.S. News ‘Top Public School’ In Memoriam Jud Snyder (1925-2018), Cantankerous Newsman RP Public Safety Dept. and Cotati Police Dept. promotions RP honors Sister City’s Ambassadors from Japan This is the zodiac speaking High school counselor retires again Field retires from Special Education Nafe Nafe, a seasoned performer I just make bowls! Factory and trades training facility at SOMO Village Harmony’s Joel, Cotati storyteller Brian Harvey’s love for cars Scott Goree, Executive Director of the Accordion Festival Rohnert Park’s Balldude, Leff Brown Lonnie Mack, a longtime barber and musician A roving community nurse in Cotati From farmland to vineyard Avila collects tokens A spirited heart with compassion A sports doctor putting players together Covering a multitude of braces in the local community Bringing positive to a negative world Celebrating 42 years of business in Cotati Rohnert Park students get schooled in kindness Every day 22 veterans commit suicide RCHS alumnus moves on to the bigtime A Cub reporter’s first scrapbook Recognition of Oliver Fraenkle’s excellence in teaching A special class for children with autism The Cotati Fairy Tale dance brought out the best Grant helps City of RP prioritize creek clean up New gym dedicated and named after Henry J. Sarlatte A Reflection on Women’s History Month 35 years an educator Kindness and generosity comes from many corners of the world Cotati’s Veronda/Falletti Ranch Gegan, an educator of 32 years retires Peace Park at Rohnert Park’s Burton Center Local author tells her story Keeping the faith for 45 years From a garage to an authentic art studio Kitty Collins, an animal whisperer with passion 40 years in real estate and still going strong Cheryl Nixon and Friar Tucks Larry Phan, Living the American Dream Ferrari Salon Celebrates 34 Years Straightening spines for almost forty years A proud Cotatian A repair man with humor Hot cars and good-looking women A Swedish and German lass in Rohnert Park The Stones go to printing A night of pride for the Devil Pups “One Cold Night” raises money for SAY Pet peeves that irritate me (an article of opinion) Cotati Police Officer takes on new role Mastering the art of dance Nonn’s poetry inspired by RP Creeks Students help with rebuilding efforts Cotati’s tree lighting Marionettes at the local library Local Girl Scout Troops receive grant A walk on spot for Barbato RP grant to help host 2019 One Planet Summit 140 years of Japanese American History in new exhibit in Cotati Orion greets the public A new face at the school district office "Streetcar named Desire” stops at 6th St. Playhouse Flying Frog to sponsor upcoming Parkour Competition SSU to help with Mi Futuro Youth Healthcare Credo High’s reprisal: “The Aretha Tribute” Stories matter: Judson Snyder Physics in action at Technology High School Tech High Titans undefeated champions How to do origami Annual Holiday gift and toy drive kicks off The Zschach’s and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang SSU launches ‘financial literacy’ project with Redwood Credit Union Spreckels’ ‘Nutcracker’ ---Precision, color and elegance A day of wood and amazement Ensure holiday packages don’t get stolen DA’s office and Social Advocates for Youth selected to receive grant City of Rohnert Park celebrates Veterans Nov. 11 Change of seasons can be stressful Experience Credo High School Faith Ako: Creating “A Wonderful World” Tech High’s warm clothing drive huge success Get musical instruments back into homes Donaghey has new career after retirement

Royal King, Freedom Rider

By: Lanny Lowery
January 18, 2019

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day:  no fireworks for me but vivid memories of the segregated South.  In the middle of a warm May night in 1965, a Greyhound bus left me in a lightless, small Mississippi town.  After the bus departed, three young African-Americans, who had been riding at the back of the bus, approached me and asked if I planned to walk two miles to the radar station.  Thus began my second journey with three friends who would not be spending much time with me outside of the Air Force facility.

This arrival, one of many stories shared with my friend and colleague, Royal King, twenty years later, did not surprise him.  He had been there four years earlier and he had grown up in a small Louisiana town.  He knew about “For Whites Only” signs, he had seen the sundown towns and he lived the segregated South.

When Royal was sixteen and living in Southern California, he followed his uncle back into the South to Mississippi as a Freedom Rider.  Many Freedom Rides began in New Orleans and went to Jackson, Mississippi, during the summer of 1961.  These rides were inspired by events experienced by the first Freedom Riders on Mother’s Day, 1961.

In Birmingham, Alabama, stands a commemorative plaque recalling what happened on that day.  “On Mother’s Day, May 14, 1961, a group of black and white CORE youths on a ‘Freedom Ride’ from Washington D.C. to New Orleans arrived at the Birmingham Greyhound terminal.  . . .  Here they were met and attacked by a mob of Klansmen.  The riders were severely assaulted while the police watched, yet the youth stood their ground.”

The point of the Freedom Rides was to test a court case, “Boynton v. Virginia” which declared segregation in bus terminals unconstitutional.  The Mother’s Day attack on the riders not only did not deter more rides but also inspired youth throughout the country to get involved.  Royal King knew the risks and went to Mississippi anyway.

Royal put a face on the Civil Rights movement for students and colleagues in our community.  As a teacher and later as a substitute, he shared this part of history.  He also lived the courage and integrity that he displayed as a teenager.  He modeled this as psychological counselor in the Navy, as an elementary teacher for thirty-four years, as everyone’s favorite substitute teacher for eleven years and as a teacher’s union leader for his entire career.

Royal was tough and blunt, but he was gentle and caring.  He spent many of his lunch hours reading stories to kindergartners.  Yet, he always had time to stand up for his colleagues.  All of these great qualities were embedded in that teenager who had the fortitude to be a Freedom Rider.  I will honor him, along with many other anonymous Civil Rights fighters on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.