EDITOR'S NOTE: Multimedia journalist Lydia Pantazes spoke with a Girl Scout and troop leader volunteering their time at a COVID testing facility and to the chairman for CORE-CA Kingdom Day Parade. Click the arrow above to watch the video. (Jan. 17, 2022)

LOS ANGELES — It’s the only federal holiday designated as a day of service, which is why for Girl Scouts like Cairo Crawford, Martin Luther king Jr. day is the perfect opportunity to make a difference. “We just love helping people and doing community service,” Crawford said.

Her troop came to Leimert Park village with a goal, to honor the late civil rights leader by supporting black owned businesses and volunteer in the community.

What You Need To Know

  • LA's premier annual event to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day — the Kingdom Day Parade in South LA — was canceled Monday due to the pandemic

  • But a variety of MLK-related events were held to mark the federal holiday

  • The Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice and other groups hosted an MLK Day "Caravan for Social Justice"

  • The First AME Church of LA hosted "The Hope Clinic"

Crawford and her fellow Girl Scouts found plenty of places to help including the offices of the Kingdom Day Parade where they are getting ready to offer free COVID-19 testing.

“Because that’s what he would want us to do and it’s the right thing to do,” Crawford said.

When parade organizers cancelled the event due to surging cases of COVID-19 they pivoted. Dr. Adrian Dove, who is the chairman for Core California Kingdom Day parade, told Spectrum News 1 that shirts made for parade volunteers will now go to people volunteering at the testing site.

“There is a shortage of tests so we took some of the money that we were going to use for barricades and other stuff and diverted it over to pay for testing,” Dove said.

He adds that it’s their way of making sure we start to see a drop in the number of people affected by COVID and encourage people to get vaccinated.

“I think that’s something that we should do, I believe that if Dr. King were here today, he’d be encouraging people to get vaccinated.”

Cairo Crawford’s mother, Jocelyn Crawford, who is also her troop leader, says the outing is showing her daughter and her fellow Girl Scouts the true meaning of the holiday.

“We had no idea that the parade was cancelled and we’re very sad about that but at least we got the opportunity to be involved in the community because that’s what he was all about, community service, unity, giving back,” Jocelyn said.

As for Cairo she loves the annual parade but she says getting people healthy will allow her and her fellow Girl Scouts to continue serving the community.

Even though the Kingdom Day Parade was canceled, a variety of MLK-related events were still held to mark the federal holiday.

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE-CA) Kingdom Day Parade Committee sponsored a free in-car COVID-19 rapid-testing event in lieu of hosting the annual parade. The committee administered 500 rapid tests, attracting a long line of cars throughout the morning.

The First AME Church of Los Angeles hosted "The Hope Clinic," a special vaccine event to commemorate MLK Day and provide people an opportunity to receive doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Westside Coalition held its 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on a virtual basis. The celebration included music by the Linda Alvarez Trio and spoken word by Get Lit - Words Ignite, which was presented with a Community Light Award. Education awards were presented to students and a lifetime achievement award was presented to longtime community activist LaVerne Ross.

Big Sunday had planned to host its 10th annual MLK Day "New Clothing Collection and Community Breakfast," but the event was postponed at the last minute due to rain. A new date wasn't immediately set. The event was planned as a block party featuring the collection, assembly and donation of 2,022 new cold-weather clothing kits.

The Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice and other groups hosted an MLK Day "Caravan for Social Justice" to "reflect the true spirit of Dr. King." The Pasadena Martin Luther King Community Coalition held a virtual celebration streaming on its YouTube channel.

Among the other events held for MLK day were a "Unity Skate and Walk" event at the Metro Rosa Parks Station, a COVID-19 vaccine and testing event at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and a commemoration by the California African American Museum.