Peace Week, a week-long celebration leading up to the City of Long Beach’s 26th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace & Unity Parade Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 18, will include a number of activities that honor community involvement, unity and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Being an activist for equal rights and peace, this is a special event for me,” said 6th District Councilmember Dee Andrews, whose office hosts the events. “Being a believer in the human spirit, it is celebrations like this that unite all races. The human spirit has no color, and this is the perfect venue to demonstrate that we are beyond color boundaries.”
Pre-Parade and Neighborhood Clean-up
From 8:30am to 10am, at McBride Park, 1550 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., community groups and volunteers will work together to clean up the parade route area. For more information or to volunteer, call (562) 570-6816.
The nonprofit New Generations, NG will distribute free items, including food, clothing, services and accessories, to local residents from 12:30pm to 3pm at Washington Middle School, 1450 Cedar Ave.
Candlelight Peace March
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Andrews and community members will lead the 7th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Peace March on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 5pm. The starting point will be 1550 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. Parking will be available at Long Beach City College, PCC, 1305 East Pacific Coast Highway, and free shuttles will be available.
This year’s march will honor the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. This is the seventh year that the City of Long Beach has come together to promote the annual walk, which was spearheaded by Andrews.
“The Peace March provides the community an opportunity to stand united. Walking together, we represent the peace and the love that keeps our community strong,” Andrews said. “I hope to see all the churches, families, schools and community organizations at the march.”
On Sunday, Jan. 12, all places of worship in Long Beach are encouraged to participate in recognition of King by promoting dialogue about and reflection on his legacy.
“Peace in our Community: A Place for Everyone!”
On Monday, Jan. 13, from 5pm to 7pm at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave., the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) and Cambodian Association of America will strive to build an inclusive community by having a dialogue about immigration and safety in the local community.
Six recipients will be honored at 5pm, on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at the Long Beach City Council meeting, 333 West Ocean Blvd., as part of Peace Week.
The honorees were chosen based upon their background of volunteering in the community, as well as promoting messages of community engagement, nonviolence and unity. The Peacemaker Awards recognize the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who brought innovative strategies in spreading compassion and love among all people, as well as utilized nonviolence as the means to transform communities, according to Andrews’s office.
“The City of Long Beach values diversity and multiculturalism,” Andrews said. “We must continue spreading Dr. King’s message among our neighbors, especially our youth.”
The Community Youth Honoree Award will be bestowed on Inner Beauty Gems mentoring club for young girls, which has served families at the annual “Serving With A Thankful Heart” Thanksgiving banquet, provided refreshments for the annual Candlelight Peace March, distributed Christmas toys to children, hosted a winter coat drive for needy children, and organized a Mother’s Day Tea to honor 50 women throughout Long Beach.
Darick J. Simpson, executive director of the Long Beach Community Action Partnership, has been selected as the Community Spirit honoree for his reputation as a community leader with diverse experiences that include business development, community development, youth programs and entertainment. Professionally he has served as vice president of Bank of America, director of the Los Angeles Minority Business Development Center and executive director of the Long Beach Downtown YMCA. Simpson created several teen programs that have received recognition for innovation and teen engagement.
Fourth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has been selected as the recipient of Community Male Honoree for spending much of his political career working to protect the innocent and vulnerable children in Los Angeles County. Knabe established the Safe Surrender program in Los Angeles County, allowing someone to surrender an infant that is no more than three days old, as long as the infant shows no signs of abuse. Since 2001, 110 babies have been safely surrendered in Los Angeles County, according to Andrews’s office. Knabe is also known as a national leader on the issue of child sex trafficking. In 2012, he launched a county-wide awareness campaign to spread the word that young girls are being sexually exploited for money. In 2013, he testified on the issue of child sex trafficking at a hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Minnie Douglas, selected as the Community Female Honoree, is a native of Texas and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is a Long Beach City College professor emeritus. She has been actively involved in community groups and served on several boards that support the health and well-being of the community. She is a current board member of: St Mary Medical Center Foundation, The Pearl Foundation, California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ), International City Theatre, Long Beach City College Foundation and Leadership Long Beach.
New Life Beginnings, Inc. (NLB), a grassroots nonprofit organization established in 1984 by two homemakers who saw the needs of homeless pregnant women and their children, is being recognized as Community Group Honoree. NLB serves a diverse racial and cultural population of homeless pregnant women and their children, according to Andrews’s office. While in NLB, women are engaged in a personalized program to help them break through the welfare cycle and become contributing members of society. NLB has been instrumental in serving the community with food drives and the 6th District Back to School event, in which they help to distribute over 1,000 backpacks to students in need, according to Andrews’s office.
Kraig Kojian and the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) will be the Community Corporation Honorees. Kojian has served as a member of the Downtown Long Beach Associates staff since October 1996, when he was hired as Communications and Events manager for the tenant-based improvement district. At that time the District consisted of an operating budget of approximately $383,000. In April of 1997, he was promoted to director of DLBA and began a feasibility study to generate additional revenue for the District– primarily focusing on the creation of a Property Based Improvement District (PBID). In August 1998, the Long Beach City Council unanimously approved the establishment of a Downtown PBID, representing 325 commercial property owners and 650 parcels with a beginning budget of $950,000 for five years. In 2003, stakeholders and City Council voted to renew the district for 10 years, becoming the first 10-year district in the state. In August of 2012, the PBID again won approval from downtown property owners and residents along with gaining unanimous consent by the City Council for another 10 years. Today, Kojian directs the management of two improvement districts, consisting of nearly 5,000 stakeholders and whose annual budget exceeds $4 million. The DLBA operates on behalf of the property owners including residents and tenants of the Downtown Business Improvement Districts, dedicated to the management, marketing, security and maintenance, advocacy and economic and community development of the assessment districts in cooperation with the City of Long Beach and the private sector.
“Spirit on the Move”
On Wednesday, Jan.15, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Clue California, a statewide alliance of interfaith organizations whose aim is to end low-wage poverty in the state, will host an event to “move the human spirit to peace” with special performances by African drummers and dancers, Sacred Jazz, and spoken word. The event will take place at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave.
“Read for Peace”
On Thursday, Jan.16, from 2pm to 4pm at at Mark Twain Library, 1401 E Anaheim St., the nonprofit New Life Beginnings and Long Beach Public Library will host a free, educational event for all ages in honor of peacemakers Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Cesar Chavez and Nelson Mandela. Free books will be given to children ages 5 to 12. The event will also feature readings about peace.
Peace and Unity Parade
With a theme of “50 Years Strong & the Dream Lives On,” the parade will run from 10:30am to noon.
This year’s parade grand marshals are Aroldo and Alma Campos, who run New Generations, a mentoring and sports program designed to keep at-risk kids out of gangs and in school.
“We are very fortunate to have individuals in our community that reach beyond the everyday challenges to include serving others in a way that uplifts the entire community,” Andrews said. “It is the people like these that have helped shape our neighborhoods.”
Honorees include: The Pearl Foundation; Incorporated an Affiliate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Henry Salcido; Food Bank of Southern California; Prach Ly; Leonard Adams; Logan Baughman, III; New Generations; and Naomi Rainey as the 2014 honorary chair of the parade.
The parade will begin on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue at the intersection of Anaheim Street. It will proceed north on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, turn right (east) on 19th Street, and turn left (north) on Lemon Avenue. Parade parking will be available at Long Beach City College, located at Orange Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. From 7:30am to 10am, at this same location, shuttle buses will be transporting participants and spectators to and from the parade route.
Peace & Unity Celebration
Grammy-winning act Rose Royce will headline the 26th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 18 from noon to 5pm at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 1550 Lemon Ave.
The event’s main stage will also feature performances by the Golgotha Trinity Baptist Church Choir, Khmer Arts Cultural Center Dancers, Rush Hour, Alvin Hayes, Jr., Dat Ez Band and Box Car 7.
This year’s master of ceremonies will be Donaldo Reed, the founder of Rockin’ Blues Entertainment.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is a free multi-cultural event that will include an assortment of attractions such as a health pavilion that provides free health screenings such as blood pressure and diabetes testing, and specialty craft, merchandise, food and informational exhibitors, as well as a special area for children and teens that features free carnival rides for small children, a teen stage with dancing performances and a contest, an arts and crafts booths and a nutritional snack stand that teaches kids about nutrition.