Remembering a Dreamer

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By Shirley Hawkins

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — Adrian Dove, the chairman of the Kingdom Day Parade that will be held Jan. 16 in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., knew King personally.

He worked for King in 1965, registering Black voters in Alabama and South Carolina during voter registration drives following the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

Dove said he is tremendously honored to continue to highlight the life and legacy of the civil rights leader who preached peace and equality and became a world symbol for justice. 

“Dr. King’s life is based on equality for everybody and about using love as a weapon to achieve that goal,” he said. “This annual parade is our way of trying to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive.”

As chairman of the parade, Dove is well aware of the parade’s history.

“The Kingdom Day Parade originated 36 years ago as a small neighborhood street celebration in South Los Angeles and it was founded by Larry Grant with help from Celeste King,” Dove said.

The local parade is considered the largest birthday celebration for King in the nation. 

“Our theme for this year’s parade is derived from a statement from President Abraham Lincoln, who declared that ‘America is the last, best hope of the world for democracy,’” Dove said. “It was a statement that Lincoln made … just before his assassination.

“Martin Luther King amended that statement 100 years later when he said, ‘We are fighting to make America the last, best hope of the world for democracy.’”

The parade is just one of many events that will be held in the upcoming week in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., who would have turned 94 on Jan. 15. The 38th annual Kingdom Day Parade will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring marching bands, drill teams, equestrian units and fraternities and sororities.

The celebrity grand marshal willbe award-winning actress and producer Issa Rae, creator of the “Insecure” series. The grand marshal will be lawyer George Fatheree, who worked with county officials to secure the return of Bruce’s Beach to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce. 

The parade begins at Western Avenue and King Boulevard and will proceed down King to Crenshaw Boulevard and then south on Crenshaw to Leimert Park, where a freedom festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will include speeches, live music, local vendors and food trucjs.

Other events include a program at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The program includes a performance by the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, the King Study Group, and family activities provided by the Los Angeles Public Library. CAAM is located at 600 State Drive. Information: 213-744-7432.

On Jan. 14, the city of Inglewood will celebrate King’s birthday with the annual King Fest Family Festival on Market Street between Regent and Nutwood streets starting at 11 a.m. The festival is an all-day family event that will feature interactive games, health screenings, food trucks and two stages with live entertainment. Information: 310-412-8750 or visit the City’s website at www.cityofinglewood.org.

The city of Long Beach will hold its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and celebration Jan. 14. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street, followed by a celebration from noon to 5 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave.

The celebration will include a main stage with multicultural performances, as well as other community-focused activities, such as a health and wellness area, a youth area, food and merchandise vendors, and information booths. 

Culver City will hold its MLK Jr. Celebration: Freedom For All event Jan. 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Culver City Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 4117 Overland Ave.

Mayor Albert Vera will deliver a welcome speech, followed by a performance by actor and motivational speaker Gerald C. Rivers, who will read a collection of speeches by King based on the theme Freedom For All. There also will be live musical performances, drawing prizes and refreshments. 

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor MLK Celebration 2023 will celebrate the past, present and future of the civil rights and labor movements from 8 to 11 a.m. Jan. 14 at the InterContinental Hotel at 900 Wilshire Blvd., downtown Los Angeles. The breakfast is also a major joint fundraiser supporting the work of the LA Federation and its associated programs.

Speaking will be labor leaders and Mayor Karen Bass is expected to make an appearance.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference will holds its Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Interfaith

Breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. Jan. 12 at McCarty Memorial Christian Church, 4101 Adams Blvd. Keynote speaker will be pastor Eddie Anderson Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at www.sclc-sc.org.

The United Negro College Fund Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Inter-Alumni Council will host the 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Breakfast from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Proud Bird Events Center, 11022 Aviation Blvd.

The event includes breakfast, entertainment and a keynote address by George T. French Jr., president of Clark Atlanta University. Information: Sheila Gilmore at 213-639-3800.

The  West Hollywood Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 14, at West Hollywood Elementary school, 970 N. Hammond Street. It is a partnership with the city of West Hollywood, West Hollywood Elementary School and Friends of West Hollywood Elementary. 

Volunteers will perform various gardening, landscaping, clean-up, painting and other beautifying tasks at the school.

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