Photos by Chris Rusanowsky
The Lakewood High School marching band ‘thrilled‘ Long Beach residents of all ages Saturday, performing a rendition of Michael Jackson’s classic hit ‘Thriller’ during a parade marking the end of peace-week celebrations this year in Long Beach.
Various church groups, schools, and non-profits filled trucks and sports cars to soak up the sunshine on parade day. Families could be seen barbecuing along the parade route until nightfall and watching over children who got a rare opportunity to play in the street until police removed parade barricades.
Men trained outside of a boxing gym on the sidewalk at dusk, little girls practiced dances together, and the elderly sat on their porches laughing loudly as the sun set.
The parade marked Long Beach’s 25th annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day. The video montage above covers the event’s festivities with music by event performer Holly Johnson and the Faithful Four.
It was the sixth year that Council Person Dee Andrews hosted the event. Support for the council person was high as the MC called for the community to, “support Mr. Andrews in everything he does , because he has made such a difference in our community.”
Despite a couple of fights along the parade route, Police chief Jim McDonnell said the day passed without any serious incidents.
“Policing should be the last resort,” McDonnell told Voicewaves “It’s rare that we get to do this kind of outreach, especially with young people, and when we do, it’s very effective and those young folks are receptive to us.”
At the event was everything from music, to food, and even zumba aerobics. The Zumba booth gave free demonstrations, and helped people sign up to get on the path to a fitter lifestyle.
Other groups celebrating King’s legacy Saturday included representatives of the Building Healthy Communities Workgroup for Long Beach- responsible for many peace-building strategies throughout Central, West and Northern parts of our city. Another was 100 Black Men of Long Beach– a group focused on empowering young men of color to build and maintain the peaceful and healthy community they imagine.