March and celebration returns to Long Beach


The Martin Luther King Center is set to host the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade and celebration on Monday, Jan. 15.

The march will step off from Laurelton Boulevard and West Park Avenue at 11:30 a.m. and end at the MLK Center, located at 615 Riverside Blvd.

The march serves to remember and honor the accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact during — and long after —in the Civil Rights Movement, according to the Chairman of the MLK Center, Cedrick Coad.

“I’ve been marching for about 20 years now, and I have had so many memories, so many great moments,” Coad said. “My favorite memory would have to be last year’s march. It was my first official one as chairman of the MLK. Starting as a young child participating in these marches to now leading them is very surreal and it just shows the young children of the community that they can follow in my footsteps as well.”

King played a crucial role in promoting racial justice for African Americans. The march serves as a platform to advocate for ongoing efforts to achieve King’s dream of a society where individuals are judged by their character, not skin color, and stands as a reminder of present-day struggles for equality.

“The MLK Day march brings together people from diverse backgrounds to march in unity and solidarity,” Coad said. “It serves as a symbol of collective commitment to the principles of equality, justice, and human rights.”

The march will be immediately followed by a ceremony at the MLK Center.

“This year’s theme is all about ‘Pouring Life into the Future’, we’ll be honoring amazing individuals who have contributed heavily to the Long Beach MLK Center rebranding and success over the years,” Coad said. “We’re going to celebrate the life of MLK in many different forms of art, music, dance, and more.”

The MLK Center is not only the host of the parade and march but also extends its specialized services to the residents of Long Beach and surrounding areas, including towns like Island Park, Oceanside, Hempstead, and beyond. With a primary focus on the underserved North Park Community in Long Beach, the center strives to promote growth and development.

The range of services offered includes counseling, mentoring, early childhood development, cultural enrichment, youth empowerment, career development, entrepreneurial exploration, and hands-on training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“Participation in the march and ceremony fosters community engagement and a sense of shared responsibility for creating a more just and inclusive society,” Coad said. “It encourages individuals to reflect on their roles in promoting equality and justice while providing an opportunity for education and awareness about the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions, and the ongoing challenges related to racial equality. It encourages dialogue and reflection on the progress made and the work still to be done, especially here in our community.”