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30th annual Kingdom Day Parade marches through South Los Angeles

The parade had more than 3,000 participants. (Thinkstock)
The parade had more than 3,000 participants. (Thinkstock)

The 30th annual Kingdom Day Parade worked its way through South Los Angeles on Monday with the theme “Love & Respect: Let It Begin With Me,” and with Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson serving as grand marshal.

Southern California’s largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance began at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, heading west on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Crenshaw Boulevard, ending near Leimert Park.

The parade had more than 3,000 participants. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, last year’s grand marshal, joined Wesson on his float, along with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles.

“This is about lifting everyone, and we want to deliver that message to whoever listens,” Wesson told ABC7 along the parade route.

Garcetti told the station the parade marks not only “the legacy of Dr. King, but the work that remains to be done.”

“The minimum wage in this town — to raise that,” he said. “To house the homeless. To make sure that young men of color don’t die on the streets in this country. That work remains, but Los Angeles is leading, and I’m really proud to be here today.”

Metro’s entry in the parade was a replica of the bus Rosa Parks was riding in when she was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white rider in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.

The entry was intended to highlight transit’s role in the civil rights movement and mark the 60th anniversary of Parks’ arrest and subsequent bus boycott, which became a catalyst of the movement, according to a Metro official.

UCLA’s track and field team was also among the parade’s participants.

“This day and this parade have given me the opportunity to discuss and share some of Dr. King’s messages with our student-athletes,” UCLA director of track and field Mike Maynard said.

Aside from street closures, there were no reports of any troubles stemming from the parade, although police responded early on to a report of an un-permitted drone being flown over the route.

Meanwhile, Inglewood’s 32nd annual commemoration of King’s life and accomplishments featured a commemorative program at Crozier Middle School with speeches from elementary, middle and high school students and elected officials, performances by local choirs and community groups.

A symbolic civil rights march began at the school and made its way to the Forum, where the King Fest 2015 featured live entertainment, arts and crafts projects and food trucks.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was also marked in Los Angeles County by several service projects, a celebration in Santa Monica and a blood drive.

More than 1,000 volunteers helped paint educational murals and build school gardens at the Santee Education Complex in South Los Angeles.

The fourth annual Roosevelt High School Beautification Day included a campus clean-up, mural painting and cultivating a community garden.

An effort to revitalize the Carmelitos Community Garden in Long Beach was also held as part of the MLK celebrations.

Santa Monica’s 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration was held at the Soka Gakkai International Auditorium. Its theme is “The Fierce Urgency of Now” and will include inspirational readings and music. Social activist Gabriella Rosco will be the keynote speaker.

A Community Involvement Fair followed at the SGI Youth Center.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, meanwhile, marked the holiday with a daylong blood drive.

More than 1,000 volunteers organized by the service group City Year descended on Diego Rivera Learning Complex in South Los Angeles for a beautification project, painting 70 murals around the campus.

“Dr. King once said, ‘Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve,”‘ said Mary Jane Stevenson, executive director of City Year Los Angeles. “This day offers us the unique opportunity to reflect on those values by mobilizing volunteers for a day of service in their own community.”

 

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