Marchers in San Francisco honor MLK, Voting Rights Act

Lyanne Melendez Image
Monday, January 19, 2015
Marchers in San Francisco honor MLK, Voting Rights Act
A group in San Francisco marched to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- From Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, the historic march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 50 years ago was instrumental in passing the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

This Martin Luther King, Jr., Day hundreds of people marched to the Yerba Buena Gardens to commemorate that day. Some were not celebrating, but demanding social justice for young African-American men today.

I think with everything that is going on in our nation, many people felt that it was really important to march this year and revisit how we got here, 50 years after Congress passed and the president signed the Voting Rights Act.

"It's sweet to celebrate, but there is sorrow when you think about the economic situation and about the discrimination that is happening right now. So, yeah, it's sweet and it's bitter," San Jose resident Carolyn Jones.

Hundreds marched in San Francisco to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. The group marched and sang, "We shall overcome... someday."

For those who've been here before, it was a time for reflection. For the younger ones, it was a time to understand and appreciate the legacy of King and those who marched with him.

"It means a lot to me, it's about Martin Luther King and he really he changed the world," 8-year-old Olivia Dinkins said.

The march ended where it always does, at Yerba Buena Gardens. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, reminded everyone that we are also celebrating what will soon be the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

"Rev. King insisted that we vote. If you don't vote, you don't count. You absolutely must vote," Pelosi said.

Monday's celebration also sparked outrage over the police shootings of unarmed black men.

"We are losing too many African American boys, not just to police officers, but to black boys and men and we have to hold them accountable," San Francisco Supervisor London Breed.

It was a reminder that King's work is not done.

El Cerrito holds 26th annual Martin Luther King Day parade

Hundreds of people marched along busy San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito Monday morning to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Many people walked with their kids along the one-mile route, which went from the DMV office to El Cerrito High School.

To celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the city of El Cerrito held their parade, which has been a tradition for 26 years. (Jan. 19, 2015/ABC7 News)

"Dr. King's vision and his dream was one of peace. And so we really think that we need to give this to our next generation," Michelle Grant from WCC Mocha Moms said.

This is the 26th year that El Cerrito has had a Martin Luther King, Jr. parade. The first one was organized as a protest because the city would not provide a permit for the event. In contrast, city officials and police took part in this year's march.

People celebrate MLK Day by volunteering in Richmond

Every year more people are answering the call to commemorate the MLK holiday with a day of volunteering. Three people work to fix up the Richmond Greenway. (Jan. 19, 2015/ABC7 News

Every year, more people are answering the call to commemorate the MLK holiday with a day of volunteering.

That's exactly what all these people were doing along the Richmond Greenway. Hundreds of volunteers helped dig up holes, pull up weeds and plant new bushes along the trail. The beautification project stretched along the Richmond Greenway between Sixth and 19th streets.

A child in Richmond helps plant some grass at the Richmond Greenway to help celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday with a day of volunteering. (Jan. 19, 2015/ABC7 News)

"What a wonderful opportunity to be out here and celebrate the man and his work and his dreams. And this is our dream for our community. We're really dreaming that people will really have a safe place to walk, a safe place to bicycle," event organizer Lana Husser said.

Seventeen local businesses and organizations took part in the beautification project this is the eighth year the MLK Day of Service has benefited the Richmond Greenway.