36th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade returns to Central Long Beach

Staff Report


Long Beach’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade will return on Jan. 13 to honor the life, values and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through community connections and engagement across generations, namely in Central Long Beach. 

The parade festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street, then travel northbound up Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and conclude at 19th Street. 

The community members who have been chosen to lead the parade as the Grand Marshals are Councilmember Al Austin; Chan and Mark Hopson, who co-founded the Khmer Parent Association; Tonya Martin, the president of Long Beach Pride; and Griselda Suarez, the executive director of the Long Beach Arts Council. 

A park celebration featuring a main stage with live entertainment, a kid zone, food and merchandise vendors and more will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 1950 Lemon Ave. 

Entertainment will include:

  • Gravity Dance Company from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.
  • The Block PARTY Band from 1:15 to 2 p.m.
  • DW3 from 2:30 to 3:40 p.m.
  • Virgil Gibson from 4 to 5 p.m.
Attendees of the Long Beach Veterans Day celebration dance to ’80s and ’90s music performed by the band Knyght Ryder at Houghton Park on November 12, 2022. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

The celebration will also honor the 2024 Peace Maker Award-winners, who are recognized for embodying the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by using compassion and nonviolence to transform communities. The 2024 Peace Maker Award-winners are as follows: 

  • Keith Lily, the founder of Developing Future Leaders, an organization that provides mentoring programs for young people. 
  • Karen Reside, the president of the Long Beach Gray Panthers, a nonprofit that educates and advocates for older adults. Reside also founded the nonprofit Cultural Alliance of Long Beach, which assisted in creating over 16 nonprofits. 
  • Tito Rodriguez, director of the Local Hearts Foundation, a nonprofit that helps low-income communities. 
  • Susana Sngiem, executive director of the United Cambodian Community, which is committed to the equitable development of the Cambodian community in Long Beach. 

“For over 30 years, our Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Celebration has brought together friends, family and neighbors to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr. King,” said Mayor Rex Richardson in a public statement. “We look forward to spending an inspirational afternoon with our community, as we honor his legacy.”

A statue of Martin Luther King Jr. is prominently displayed at the Long Beach park, bearing his name on Oct. 3, 2022. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue will be closed from Seventh Street to Anaheim Street from 5 a.m. to around 1 p.m. The same road will close from Anaheim Street to 19th Street at 9 a.m. to accommodate the parade route and staging areas. 

Cars will be allowed to cross intermittently at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.

View a map of the parade route here.

“We look forward to presenting this annual celebration again for our community,” said Sixth District Councilwoman Dr. Suely Saro in a public statement. “Each year this event serves as a reminder of our nation’s past and an inspirational hope for our future as we honor and celebrate the impactful life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” 

Residents or organizations who want to volunteer to help support the parade and festival can register online. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older. Responsibilities will include standing at barricades, staffing the information booth, trash collection and general assistance of event setup and break down. 

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2024-01-09 00:39:06 , Long Beach Archives – Signal Tribune

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