LOS ANGELES — Community members and activists caravanned down Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard on Monday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice organized the COVID-friendly caravan for people to continue to fight for issues Dr. King fought for including racial injustice, health care and affordable housing.
Sekou Parker, who helped organize the event, said Dr. King’s work changed life for generations for people like himself.
“Yes, it's better. Obviously segregation is not as big as it used to be,” Parker said. “But we’re still fighting every day to try and get equal rights for everybody.”
Top of mind for Parker was the ongoing fight against police brutality, an issue Dr. King spoke out against. It’s an issue Parker grew up with in South Los Angeles.
“I’ve seen police brutality happen first-hand even my neighbor,” Parker said. “He was just trying to get into his car and they assumed he was stealing it just because he was a person of color.”
Civil and human rights are what drove people to their cars in recognition of Dr. King’s legacy.
The 1964 Voting Rights Act became law in large part because of King's efforts. Yet today, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act hasn’t passed Congress.
Voter suppression laws are the reason Michelle Fowle joined the caravan from Northridge.
“When you have states that have introduced over 400 voter suppression laws, that’s alarming. We need to do something,” Fowle said. “I can’t sit on the couch and say, 'Well this doesn’t affect me because I’m white.' I need to show up for my Black brothers and sisters.”
People showing up gives Parker renewed confidence in the power of unity.
“You really love to see all these people out here supporting the community and fighting for what’s right,” he said.