Crowds gather in Leimert Park for Kingdom Day Parade

Leimert Park Village leapt to life this Martin Luther King Jr. Day as families filled the sidewalks surrounding the intersection of Crenshaw and West Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards to watch the Kingdom Day Parade and join in festivities honoring the holiday’s namesake.

Marching bands and drill teams from Beckman, Crenshaw, and Inglewood High Schools, among others, filled the streets with bold, brassy music as Los Angeles City Council members waved to their constituents from slow-moving convertibles.

At the end of the parade route, booths had been set up selling everything from food to tote bags to King-inspired T-shirts.

Crenshaw High School freshman and marching band member Tierney Shellmyer relaxed in the shade under the awning of the Vision Theater. He said it was hot marching and playing in a heavy uniform, but he was glad to be able to be a part of the day’s events.

“It’s good to be in the band. We have fun,” Shellmyer added. “And once we got down here towards Crenshaw, that’s when we really started playing. There were a whole bunch of people and we thought, OK, now we gotta really play.”

Radio station KJLH set up a stage in Leimert Park where local singers performed gospel songs or music that reminded them of King.

During a break in the music, 8th District Councilmember Bernard Parks took the stage and introduced Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who had flown in from Washington for the weekend.

Waters noted that while there is plenty of cause for celebration, today’s holiday does have a more serious side.

“We don’t simply come out just to have a good time,” Waters said. “We come out to give recognition to the fact that he lived, and he died for us. He sacrificed for justice and peace, and so we’ve got to be about some serious business.”

For Waters, that first order of serious business back in Washington is making sure the health care reform bill is not repealed.

On the sidewalks, however, kids eating snow cones, clowns crafting balloon animals, and high school friends hugging after a successful parade performance made it hard to stay too serious for too long.

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  1. Looks like a great event – spreading awareness through good times! canvas art prints

  2. Seems to be nice program for awareness Great!

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  3. Kingdom Day is a magical time, but what happens after the presents have been opened? For many families, the answer is both easy and a tradition: watch the Walt Disney World Kingdom Day Parade!The musical performers over the last few years have all been extremely popular with lots of star power.
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