2019 Kingdom Day Parade draws thousands, including notable local and national leaders

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Thousands honor MLK Day at 34th Annual Kingdom Day Parade
ABC7 was proud to broadcast the 34th Annual Kingdom Day Parade in South Los Angeles on Monday, celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- ABC7 was proud to broadcast the 34th Annual Kingdom Day Parade on Monday, celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The parade marched through the streets of Leimert Park, featuring some of the area's best bands, ethnic dance groups, politicians and local leaders.

It is the largest Martin Luther King Day parade and celebration in the country. This year's theme was "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Democracy" and commemorated Dr. King's 90th birthday.

"Look at the people who are out here," said Rep. Maxine Waters. "They know he was one of the most important persons in the universe and that he left a legacy that we must understand and we must follow."

Among the many familiar faces at the parade was L.A. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who was this year's grand marshal. He said he felt humbled to see multiple generations at the parade, which holds sentimental value to him and his family.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts shares why he's grateful to be the grand marshal for the 2019 Kingdom Day Parade.

"I think about my father, who passed a couple of years ago, and who instilled the values of civil rights and what Dr. King meant to our country," he said. "So for me to be able to kind of pay it forward a little bit and fulfill his legacy just a little bit more and move it forward, I'm deeply humbled. To see the energy, the passion and so many people excited about the Kingdom Day Parade is pretty awesome."

When asked about a three-peat for the Dodgers this year, he said "we're going to bring home a championship."

Other parade participants included LAPD Chief Michel Moore, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer to name a few.

"It's a great day for Los Angeles to celebrate the legacy of a great man. He's a person who changed the course of American history and still influences today, and it's right that we're out here," Moore said.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore and L.A. Police Commissioner Dale Bonner talk about honoring Martin Luther King Jr. during the Kingdom Day Parade.

Members of the United Teachers Los Angeles union, which is in the middle of a days-long strike and contract negotiations with the L.A. Unified School District, marched in solidarity in the parade. The LAUSD All City Honor Marching Band and bands from other local high schools performed, but some schools missed the event due to the teachers strike.

ABC7 anchors Michelle Tuzee and Leslie Sykes hosted ABC7's live coverage of the Kingdom Day Parade. Marc Brown, Dallas Raines, David Ono and Ellen Leyva all took part in the festivities.

The parade started at 10 a.m. at Western Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The route ran down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Crenshaw Boulevard, where it turned left before coming to an end at Vernon Avenue.

"It's a great day celebrating a great man, great country, and I think we're showing there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. It's our generation, so it's our time to fight this fight for human rights and civil rights," said L.A. City Councilmember Herb Wesson.

The celebration continued after the parade at the Leimert Park Kingdom Day Freedomfest, which runs until 5 p.m. The event features booths, food and music.

For more information visit: www.kingdomdayparade.org

City News Service contributed to this report.