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The county's oldest observance took place in El Cerrito, where King was honored Monday for the 24th year. New generations were encouraged to carry on his work.

Keynote speaker Sylvia Moir, the city's police chief, recounted her own perseverance in fulfilling her dreams of playing Little League Baseball and later of going into law enforcement. "Both times they told me, 'You can't because you're a girl,' " she told the large audience.

In reality, "It was a blessing, it was a true, true blessing," Moir said. "I challenge you to wake up tomorrow and accept the blessings and the curses equally as gifts for driving you forward."
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The case, which has crawled along since 2007 in both federal and Contra Costa Superior courts, has cost the city more than $3 million. Arguments were to resume Tuesday afternoon.

The trial is expected to last through April.
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