Martin Luther King Jr. Day was being observed Monday with the 36th Kingdom Day Parade in South Los Angeles, multiple service projects and a celebration in Exposition Park.
The 3-mile parade began at 10 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue, proceeded west to Crenshaw Boulevard and then south to Vernon Avenue. The theme is “Equality For All Humanity, Our Next Step.”
“This is an important day …” Rep. Maxine Waters told ABC7 while walking along the parade route. She said King was all about “protecting our democracy,” and praised him for his commitment to social justice. “He paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Waters said.
Keke Palmer, a co-anchor of the ABC daytime program, “GMA3: Strahan, Sara & Keke,” was the parade’s grand marshal.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation float had three repurposed floral houses and cottages from its Rose Parade float, “Hope for the Homeless,” which received the Isabella Coleman Award for most outstanding presentation of color and color harmony through floral design at the 131st Tournament of Roses Parade New Year’s Day.
The foundation’s parade contingent also included 60 marchers carrying “Housing is a Civil Rights Issue” placards.
The foundation’s Healthy Housing Foundation has purchased, refurbished and repurposed eight single-room occupancy hotels and motels throughout Los Angeles and on skid row since 2017, creating nearly 800 housing units for formerly homeless and extremely-low-income individuals, according to Ged Kenslea, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s senior director of communications.
A festival at Leimert Park follows the parade and goes until 5 p.m. with booths, food and music.
Additionally, service projects are be held throughout Los Angeles County to fulfill the goal set by Congress in 1994 to make the day a “day on, not a day off.”
The volunteer organization Big Sunday is conducting its eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Clothing Collection & Community Breakfast, with more than 1,200 volunteers expected to come to its headquarters in Hollywood from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. to sort and fold more than 30,000 items of clothing, which will be donated to dozens of organizations.
“We are in very fraught times, but at Big Sunday, we keep finding that most people — of all ages, from all walks of life and … different political bents — want to work together to make our world a nicer place and celebrate what we share,” said David Levinson, Big Sunday’s founder and executive director.
More than 1,000 volunteers were expected to paint nearly every wall and locker, landscape the grounds and build 30 benches at Wright Middle School STEAM Magnet, according to L.A. Works, the nonprofit, volunteer action center that is organizing the event. Expected volunteers included former Lakers forward A.C. Green, members of the Laker Girls and former Los Angeles Dodgers Kenny Landreaux and Dennis Powell.
STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
There will be a record 20 projects with more than 500 volunteers at the Long Beach MLK Day of Service, now in its 10th year, according to its organizer, the leadership program, Leadership Long Beach.
Projects include painting a mural, organizing a clothing resource facility for needy community college students, stone placement in alleys to capture rainwater in an effort to reduce flooding along with gardening and planting at community gardens.
The California African American Museum in Exposition Park is conducting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. including art workshops and food.
The keynote address, “African American Voters, Mobilization and Empowerment,” will be delivered at 1 p.m. by Lorrie Frasure, an associate professor of political science and African American studies at UCLA.
Fraser will discuss the history of African American voting behavior and how to empower communities for the 2020 election and into the future.
The celebration will also include playing a recording of King’s 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” and a discussion of his life and legacy from 10-11 a.m.; a panel discussion from 11 a.m.-noon on how vital is voting to ensure the future of American democracy; school-aged youth presenting excerpts of King’s 1957 speech “Give Us the Ballot,” in which he advocated voting rights for African Americans in the United States, from 2-3 p.m.; and a musical tribute to King and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles from 3-4 p.m.
Admission is free.
The annual Mass honoring King’s legacy and the continued quest for equality for all will be celebrated at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
The Valley InterCommunity Council’s 22nd annual Dr. MLK Image Awards Musical will include performances by Reseda Church Mass Choir, the Shepherd Church Gospel Choir, the Pacoima Mass Choir, Pepperdine University Chorus and LVT American Baptist Church Choir.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez will be among the honorees at the 5 p.m. event at the Reseda Church of Christ.
In his proclamation declaring Monday Martin Luther King Jr. Day President Donald Trump, recalled King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream Speech,” calling it “one of the defining moments in American history.”
“King articulated the founding dream of America, the vision of our founders for all Americans to live as `an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth,”’ Trump wrote.
“Today, we pause to honor the incredible life and accomplishments of Dr. King, who helped shape the civil rights movement, gave hope to millions experiencing discrimination and whose enduring memory inspires us to pursue a more just and equal society.”
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