Kingdom Day Parade sees thousands honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The parade's theme this year is His Dream Will Never Die. Parade Grand Marshal Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp lead the way at the top of the lengthy parade procession.

The parade is usually held on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday but is being held on Saturday to avoid conflict with President Obama's inauguration on Monday.

Dashon Williams is the president and chairman of the Kingdom Day Parade. He is the grandson of parade founder Larry Grant, who died in August.

Williams helped his grandfather put on every parade since it began 28 years ago.

"We're doing this in honor of him and Dr. King, and it's a celebration in his honor," he said.

The parade kicked off at 11 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue. The route headed west on King Boulevard and Western Avenue, rolled west to Crenshaw Boulevard then south to Vernon Avenue, and concluded with a gospel festival in Leimert Park.

This year would have been the 84th birthday of the slain civil rights leader.

Thousands of participants, including marching bands, drill teams, dance group and equestrian units, took part in Southern California's largest King Day observance.

Former Dodger Maury Wills also joined Kemp in the festivities.

The parade, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality, means a lot to the community.

Brieanna Gomez of Hawthorne, who was gearing up for the parade, said taking part in the event has become a tradition for her family.

"We come here every year. It's something that we do," Gomez said. "We love the people. We love to come out here, support everybody. We all get along. Me and my friends come out here, we set up things. We enjoy our friends and family out here so we come out here to have fun."

The parade featured an effort by Donate Life California to promote organ and tissue donation in Los Angeles' black and multi-cultural communities. Transplant recipients, donor family members and living donors were aboard a decorated double-decker bus, themed Get Onboard Donate Life.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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