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MLK Memorial Gets $2 Million Boost

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation has moved closer to its goal of “building the dream” with a $2 million contribution from Toyota’s North American companies, the foundation announced Friday at the Congressional Black Caucus luncheon.

The donation comes on the heels of a surprise million-dollar contribution from BET co-founder Sheila Johnson in addition to $10 million in matching funds appropriated by Congress in August. The foundation needs to raise a total of $100 million to cover building and future maintenance costs and has raised $39.5 million to date.

“This donation illustrates a good corporate citizen stepping up to the plate to help build and make the dream of this memorial a reality not only for America, but for the world,” said Harry Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the MLK Memorial Foundation. “This memorial is designed to educate and inspire all visitors to share in Dr. King’s visions of and for America, and we’re thrilled to have Toyota’s support.”

Toyota isn’t new to charitable projects such as this one. Last year alone, it invested nearly $31 million in programs across the country.

“Toyota values the beliefs of Dr. King about diversity and the American dream,” said Mira Sleilati, a spokeswoman for Toyota Motor North America. “Toyota has made this a focus as long as we have been incorporated in the United States. We wanted to be a part of this ground-breaking project.”

Sleilati added that Toyota’s involvement wouldn’t end with the donation. It plans on exploring other ways throughout its various affiliates to raise awareness about the memorial and encourage its employees to join in the cause.

The memorial is scheduled for groundbreaking by November 2006 and dedication in 2008. The planned site for the monument honoring King is on the National Mall adjacent to the FDR Memorial.

Other major donors include General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, Procter & Gamble and the NBA.

D.C. City Council Passes Dog Park Bill

And they’re off!

The leashes, that is.

Dogs can now roam to their heart’s content after the D.C. City Council passed a bill Tuesday to allow dog parks on city and federally owned land.

According to the law, dogs will be allowed to be off their leashes in areas designated as dog parks, so long as they are under the verbal command of an adult.

D.C. City Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), a terrier owner, introduced the bill in January, which was inspired by the success of a dog park in Adams Morgan.

‘Oncology’ Art Exhibit Opens in Union Station

An art exhibit showcasing works created by those touched by cancer will open in Union Station today.

“Lilly Oncology on Canvas: Expressions of a Woman’s Cancer Journey” has been traveling the world for nine months. The exhibit began as an international art competition for women diagnosed with cancer, as well as their family, friends and health care providers. The competition attracted more than 400 submissions from people in 23 countries who used art to express their battles with cancer.

The exhibit’s arrival in D.C. coincides with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Works from several residents of the D.C. area are included.

“Lilly Oncology on Canvas” will be on display in Union Station’s West Hall through Oct. 16. For more information, go to

Library Kicks Off Festival Honoring Composer

The Library of Congress will pay tribute to Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu with a mini-festival that starts today.

“Mirror of Tree, Mirror of Field: The Life and Music of Toru Takemitsu” features a chamber music concert, screenings of films with scores by Takemitsu, and a round-table discussion of the composer’s music.

Takemitsu’s work is noted for its blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics and modern Western techniques. He composed works for orchestra, choir and chamber ensembles and also scored more than 90 films, 10 of which will be shown during the festival. He died in 1996.

Films scored by Takemitsu will be shown today through Friday and Oct. 3-8 in the Mary Pickford Theater of the Library’s James Madison Building. Tonight’s film, which starts at 6:30 p.m., is “Harakiri” (1962). All films are free, but seating is limited. Call (202) 707-5677 to reserve seats. For a complete list of films, see

The festival culminates in an Oct. 8 concert of Takemitsu’s work, presented under the artistic direction of Masatoshi Mitsumoto. The concert opens the 80th season of Concerts from the LOC and marks the 75th anniversary of Takemitsu’s birth.

Prior to the concert, there will be a roundtable discussion of Takemitsu’s music, which will take place at 5 p.m. in the Whitehall Pavilion of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. It will be led by Mark Swed, music critic for the Los Angeles Times, and will include Peter Grilli, film producer and president of the Japan Society of Boston; conductor Mastoshi Mitsumoto; Jon Newsom, former chief of the Library’s music division; composer Roger Reynolds; and Paula Robison. No tickets are required for this event.

The concert is free but requires tickets, which can be obtained through Ticketmaster for a $2.75 fee. For more information, call (301) 808-6900 or go to
— Scott Hechinger, Elizabeth Brotherton and Amy Carlile

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