The 30th annual Kingdom Day Parade honored the legacy of civil rights beacon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday under the theme "Love & Respect: Let It Begin With Me."
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson served as grand marshal for Southern California's largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. The parade headed west on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Crenshaw Boulevard and concluded near Leimert Park, with thousands of participants and spectatators in the Crenshaw District.
The parade included an entry from Metro, 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. Park's courageous refusal to move became a rallying point for the civil rights movement.
Local news from across Southern California
The entry is 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 also was 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.
NBC4's Beverly White, Toni Guinyard, Michael Brownlee, Randy Mac and Carolyn Johnson joined the parade route.
In Inglewood, the community's 32nd annual commemoration of King's life and accomplishments began at 9 a.m. with 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 at 11 a.m. and headed to the Forum, where the King Fest 2015 will be held with live entertainment, arts and crafts projects and food trucks.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day will also be marked in Los Angeles County by several service projects, a celebration in Santa Monica and a blood drive.
More than 1,000 volunteers are expected to paint educational murals and build school gardens at the Santee Education Complex in South Los Angeles from 9 a.m. to noon.
The fourth annual Roosevelt High School Beautification Day will be from 9 a.m. to noon and will include a campus clean-up, mural painting and cultivating a community garden.
An effort to revitalize the Carmelitos Community Garden in Long Beach will be from 9 a.m. to noon.
Santa Monica's 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration will begin at 9 a.m. 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 will follow at the SGI Youth Center.
Communities across the country remembered King Tuesday with parades, service projects, concerts and wreath-layings. President Barack Obama planned to participate in a community service project at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.
Vice President Joe Biden spoke Monday at a Delaware breakfast honoring King.
In Ferguson, Missouri, where a fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen led to weeks of protests, leaders urged reforms to the criminal justice system in the name of equality.