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Home / Life! / Live / Long Beach, Gardena to hold Martin Luther King Jr. parades Saturday

Long Beach, Gardena to hold Martin Luther King Jr. parades Saturday

MLK statue Long Beach
by City News Service
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The 36th Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Celebration will be held in Long Beach Saturday, with the theme “Unity in Diversity,” reflecting the coming together despite differences in race, gender, faith, sexual orientation and abilities.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street, then proceed north on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, concluding at 19th Street.

The grand marshals will be:

  • Councilman Al Austin II, who has represented the 8th District since 2012 and will leave the council in December when his term ends because of term limits. He is also a professional staff representative for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union;
  • Chan and Mark Hopson, a married couple who founded the Khmer Parents Association in 1995. The association has enabled low socio-economic status and at-risk children and youth to pursue a higher education. It provides an after-school tutoring program, career guidance and internship opportunities;
  • Tonya R. Martin, the president of Long Beach Pride who has volunteered and worked throughout Long Beach, Los Angeles County, nationwide and globally to foster empowerment of youths and the LGBTQ community and advocating for racial equality; and
  • Griselda Suarez, the executive director of ArtsLB, which seeks to develop, encourage and enhance Long Beach’s cultural environment.

The peacemaker honorees are:

  • Keith Lilly, a Long Beach resident since 1961 who has worked for the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach Parks and Recreation Department; Carson Parks and Recreation Department and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach;
  • Karen Reside, president of the Long Beach Gray Panthers, which educates and advocates for older adults, and founder of the nonprofit Cultural Alliance of Long Beach, where she assisted in creating over 16 nonprofit organizations;
  • Tito Rodriguez, founder of the Local Hearts Foundation which provides gifts, clothing and food to disadvantaged children; and
  • Susana Sngiem, the executive director of the United Cambodian Community of Long Beach, a nonprofit social services agency serving the Cambodian community in the Long Beach area.

The parade will necessitate the closure of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue from Seventh Street to Anaheim Street beginning at 5 a.m. and from Anaheim Street to 19th Street at 9 a.m. to accommodate the parade route and staging areas.

Vehicles will be allowed to cross intermittently at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. The street is expected to reopen by 1 p.m.

A community celebration will follow the parade from noon-5 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park with performances by the Gravity Dance Company, 12:15-12:45 p.m.; The Block PARTY Band, 1:15-2 p.m.; DW3, 2:30-3:40 p.m.; and Virgil Gibson, 4-5 p.m.

There will be intermittent sets by DJ Count throughout the day.

Gardena’s 41st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Parade and Celebration will begin at 10 a.m. at Serra High School, proceed north on Van Ness Avenue and conclude at Rowley Park.

The grand marshal will be Guy Black, a KJLH-FM (102.3) host and DJ.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, will ride in the parade.

The parade will be followed by a celebration in Rowley Park that will include a battle of the bands and other entertainment, resource and retail booths and food trucks. The celebration will conclude at 2 p.m.

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