As the nation gears up to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on what would have been his 90th birthday, here are a number of local events planned to celebrate the holiday.
Kingdom Day Parade
Tens of thousands of spectators every year line historic Kingdom Day Parade route which has remained true to its roots, still winding through the same inner-city streets in South Los Angeles. Some of the most enthusiastic spectators reserve sidewalk space with sleeping bags as early as the night before in what has become a unique Los Angeles tradition.
The three-mile parade route begins at 10:15 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard & Western Avenue, proceeds west to Crenshaw Boulevard and then South to Vernon Avenue, with a post-parade festival at end of the parade which culminates at Leimert Park. Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts will serve as grand marshal.
The parade features more than 150 attractions involving more than 3,000 individuals including special community service honorees, the Kingdom Day Parade Queen, and Her Royal Court, elaborate floats, marching bands, high school and middle school drill teams, novelty acts, equestrian units, and an exciting turn-out of celebrities, entertainment legends, and community leaders.
New to the Kingdom Day Parade will be replicas of the Montgomery, Ala. bus that Rosa Parks was arrested on, as well as a garbage truck from Memphis, Tenn. where King had planned to support striking Black sanitation workers in April 1968. As well, the Opening Mule Drawn Buck Wagon will help to symbolize the mouring of King’s death.
A 60-plus-member delegation from South Korea will be present, featuring the Hon. Young-Jin Kim, speaker of the South Korea Natioinal Assembly. There will be a tribute to Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, a graduate of nearby Immaculate Heart High School. Actor Glynn Turman will ride with the Buffalo Soldiers 10th Cavalry Mounted Unit. Among the dignitaries expected to be present are Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43), Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, and Councilman Curren Price.
MLK Celebration and Fair
Santa Monica College (SMC) and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition announce that Derric J. Johnson, the founding director of Crossroads School’s newly created Equity and Justice Institute, will be the keynote speaker at the birthday celebration for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The celebration will be held on Monday, Jan. 21, at the SGI-USA World Peace Ikeda Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.
The free event – one of the largest and most diverse celebrations of its kind in Southern California – is scheduled for 9 a.m. Immediately following the program, a Community Involvement Fair offering refreshments and informational displays by a variety of community organizations will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the nearby Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.
This year’s celebration marks the event’s 34th anniversary and embraces the theme “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.” The multi-ethnic, interfaith program will include inspirational readings, speakers, music, and dance.
MLK Community Cleanup
Hyde Park Blvd in the Park Mesa Heights neighborhoods is getting a deep clean. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., California Greenworks will be hosting a community cleanup event in Hyde Park, 2510 Hyde Park Blvd, on Saturday Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. to noon.
During this event, California Greenworks hopes to connect volunteers to the Hyde Park community while at the same time clean up illegal dumping sites along Hyde Park Blvd. Tools, water, and lunch will be provided. Free t-shirts are available on a first come first serve basis.
RSVP to Haley at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Culver City 14th Annual Celebration
Culver City will host a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a series of events as a part of its 14th Annual MLK Celebration.
“The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee and staff have organized a series of events that will be rich in meaning and value for our whole community,” said Culver City Mayor Thomas Small.
On Friday, Jan.18, the city will host a special screening of I Am MLK, Jr starting at both 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Culver City Senior Center (4095 Overland Avenue, Room B 47). Seating is limited.
On Jan. 19, the city will put on another event at the Culver City Senior Center: “Culver City’s Celebration of King.” The festivities begin at noon and end at 3 p.m. during which actor Gerald C. Rivers will perform a speech from Dr. King, the Youth Leadership Workshop will present spoken word, and student essay winners will be announced.
For more information, visit www.culvercity.org.