Solidarity at Kingdom Day Parade

The 30th Annual Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles. Photo by Thai Lee
The 30th Annual Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles. Photo by Thai Lee

LOS ANGELES-The city of Los Angeles united as one, at the 30th Annual Kingdom Day Parade. The parade took place Monday, January 19, 2015. It stretched from Vermont Ave to Crenshaw Blvd. It was set to launch at 11:00 a.m., but individuals began to line up along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at 7:00 a.m. From infants to elders, thousands were ready to see the line-up of floats, drill teams and high school marching bands to come.

The parade began with The City of Los Angeles motorcycle cops leading the parade, driving back and forth, entertaining the crowd with entertaining maneuvers on their bikes. They then lined up side by side in front of the ABC 7 cameras, saluted and drove off. Shortly behind them to start off the parade was the Los Angeles Unified School District Band., followed by parade president and CEO, Adrian Dove riding in style in a convertible Mercedes Benz.

Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. was the first to have a float on the parade route. His float played the Globes-award winning song, Glory by John Legend and Common. It was the perfect song to play because; it was featured in the film, Selma.

Although the theme of the parade was, “Love and Respect: Let It Begin with Me”, it should have been called, “Black Lives Matter” due to the recent killings that have occurred by the hands of the police. Among the 3,000 participants in the parade, many involved in the parade held up signs and wore shirts that read, “Black Lives Matter.”

Following behind a replica bus of the one Rosa Parks rode in when she was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white passenger in 1955, was a group of men in suits, known as Suits in Solidarity, holding signs with the words “Black Lives Matter.” They led a red bus filled with people standing on top waving the same signs. It was an added significance to the L.A. King’s Day parade.

Suits in solidarity...Photo by Thai Lee
Suits in solidarity…Photo by Thai Lee

The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity walked down the parade route carrying signs that read “Human lives matter,” “Black lives matter” and “Dr. King’s legacy matters.” Martin Luther King Jr., also was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.

Bystander, Artia Thomas described the parade as “awesome.”

“It’s awesome. I think it’s great to see multi-ethnic children participating in positive activities and having the community support them,” said Thomas.

If Dr. King was alive today she expressed all of the things she would want to tell him.

“I would tell him how much I respect his discipline and his ability to be uncomfortable in situations that we may not have been able to. He made it possible for my children to go to the schools they attend on the Westside,” said Thomas. “I appreciate him rallying the millions of people that were involved and being a face of a movement and accepting the criticism. Although he didn’t do it alone, to be bold enough to be the face and take the hits that came along with it, I appreciate him for that.”

Bystanders watch Garfield High School Band. Photo by Thai Lee
Bystanders watch Garfield High School Band. Photo by Thai Lee

King Drama Dred, president of Black Student Union at Southwest College felt obligated to come to represent for his people.

“I enjoyed the parade. As the president of Black Student Union at Southwest, I wanted to be sure to represent for my people. It was an experience to apart of the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. I wanted my kids to be apart and enjoy this moment,” said Dred.

Towards the end of the parade, more than 40 activists marched down the street, shouting “Hands up, don’t shoot!” as a call for justice. For sure, the many acts of protests that have taken place within the past year gave this year’s parade extra meaning.

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