“When they go low, we go high,” was the theme for the 33rd Annual King Day Pa-rade. The theme refers to a popular quote by former First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2016 Democratic Convention.
Produced by parade President and CEO Adrian Dove and the Congress of Racial Equality of California (CORE-CA), the procession of over 150 floats, marching bands, equestrian units, dance and martial arts groups, celebrities and elected offi-cials filed down the 2.5-mile route that began at Western Avenue and King Boule-vard and ended at Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue at Leimert Park. The parade commemorated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on what would have been his 89th birthday. Organizers declare the Los Angeles event to be the largest and oldest King Day celebration in the nation.
United States Senator Kamala Harris was the parade’s grand marshal. She said she was proud to be in Southern California to celebrate King’s vision of diversity and strength.
“In the midst of a time when leaders are selling hate and division, it is really impor-tant to remember that we, as a country, are so much better than that, and it is not who we are,” said Harris.
Other elected officials taking part included: Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, the 2017 grand marshal, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price.
King Day “Freedom Fest,” a music and food festival, immediately followed the parade in Leimert Park and Leimert Park Vil-lage. Hosted by Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and the Depart-ment of Cultural Affairs, the festival featured two music stages and entertainment at multiple venues in Leimert Park. Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, Regency West and Kaos Network were a few of the entertainment locations. Merchandise and food vendors lined Degnan Boulevard and 43rd Place/People’s Street Plaza.
“Freedom Fest is a perfect example of what Leimert Park is all about: a cultural gathering place where African American heri-tage is recognized and celebrated,” said Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Special Projects Director and Vision Thea-tre Manager James Burks.