coronavirus pandemic

Giving Back to the Community on MLK Day, After COVID Cancels Kingdom Day Parade

What do you do when you’re forced to switch gears in the name of public safety, but want to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy?

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What do you do when you’re forced to switch gears in the name of public safety, but want to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy?

For the members and vendors in the Congress of Racial Equality, sponsors of the canceled Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles, the answer is simple: You give back to the community.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the entire nation pauses in remembrance of the Civil Rights icon. But did you know it took nearly 32 years of fighting for the day to become a federal holiday? NBCLX breaks down the events that led to a national celebration in honor of Dr. King.

The premier annual event to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Los Angeles has been canceled for the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to avoid any chance of sponsoring a super-spreader event.

But it was clear from the vendors setting up in Leimert Park at 6 a.m. on Monday that Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy would be celebrated no matter what. There are still a number of MLK-related events going on today, many of them providing free COVID resources to the community.

Here are some of those events:

  • At 9 a.m., the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE-CA) Kingdom Day Parade Committee will sponsor a free in-car COVID-19 rapid-testing event in lieu of hosting the annual parade, which has been canceled for a second straight year. The committee has 500 rapid tests, and cars can line up on West 43rd Street off Degnan Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • At 9 a.m., the First AME Church of Los Angeles will host "The Hope Clinic," a special vaccine event to commemorate MLK Day and provide people an opportunity to receive doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses. The church is located at 2270 S. Harvard Blvd.
  • At 9 a.m., The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition will hold its 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on a virtual basis. Los Angeles Times columnist LZ Granderson will be the keynote speaker. The celebration will also include music by the Linda Alvarez Trio and spoken word by Get Lit: Words Ignite, which will also receive a Community Light Award. Education awards will be presented to students and a lifetime achievement award will be presented to longtime community activist LaVerne Ross. The celebration will be streamed here.
  • At 10 a.m., Big Sunday will host its 10th annual MLK Day "New Clothing Collection and Community Breakfast." The Hollywood-area block party will feature the collection, assembly and donation of 2,022 new cold-weather clothing kits. It takes place at 6111 Melrose Ave.
  • At 10 a.m., the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice and other groups will host an MLK Day "Caravan for Social Justice," to "reflect the true spirit of Dr. King." The gathering begins at 10 a.m., and the caravan starts at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Western Avenue and MLK Boulevard.
  • At 10 a.m., the Pasadena Martin Luther King Community Coalition will hold a virtual celebration which will be streamed live on its YouTube channel, here.
  • At 10:30 a.m., LAUSD second-grader Isabella Blue, the Unite L.A. Foundation and other groups will host a Martin Luther King Jr. "Unity Skate and Walk" event, featuring music, giveaways, a birthday cake, walk-up COVID-19 vaccines and testing and more. It takes place at Metro Rosa Parks Station, 11611 Willowbrook Ave.
  • At 11 a.m., Community Organized Relief Effort and the Sutro Avenue-Southeast Leimert Block Club will host a COVID-19 vaccination and testing pop-up event. It takes place at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
  • At 11 a.m., the California African American Museum will commemorate King with a series of virtual events, including a King family story time with the Los Angeles Public Library, a King speech study group and a performance by members of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. RSVP here, or contact:
  • At 7 p.m., Carson will present its annual tribute to King with an evening celebration featuring songs, dance and inspirational words. The event will be livestreamed here.
Copyright CNS - City News Service
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