Founder, Chairman & President/CEO of Martin Luther King Parade, Larry E. Grant with Kingdom Day Parade Queen, Destiny M. Walker.
The annual parade in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrates his life, his work and his dream emphasizing civil rights for all.
It’s time for the annual Kingdom Day Parade, which takes place this year on Monday, Jan. 16, from 11:00am to 1:00pm. This year’s theme is “The Dream Continues to Live and Grow.”
The Kingdom Day Parade (KDP) celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King along with his wife, Coretta Scott King. They helped to pave a way for equality, justice and social unity for people of color.
The KDP will be celebrating its 32nd anniversary this year. Those continuing to guide the dream are Dashon L. Williams, Executive Assistant, Adrian Dove, Chairman Core-CA, Master Tong Suk Chun, Co-Parade Chairman, and Founder, Chairman & President/CEO, Larry E. Grant.
“In 1980, in the city of San Diego, Calif., I started the first annual Dr. Martin Luther King Kingdom Day Parade,” stated Grant. He received permission to initiate the parade from Mrs. King and Christine King Farris, Dr. King’s sister.
He brought the parade to Los Angeles in 1985, which will be its 27th year in L.A as a parade and national holiday. Together with Las Vegas, Assemblyman Wendell P. Williams, Grant helped establish the Kingdom Day Parade in Las Vegas in 1989. The KDP still continues as an annual event in San Diego.
In 2002, Grant’s eldest grandson, Williams, was appointed vice president and secretary after being involved with the parade since the age of 12. Now William’s youngest son, Neeko, is next on the front line and has been appointed by Grant as a supervisor, selling parade buttons. At fourteen-years-old, Neeko is already traveling, attending and speaking at events with his great-grandfather.
Grant is one of the pioneers of Black bankers in the State of California. He was the president and CEO of Pacific Coast Bank in San Diego, Calif. where he started banking in 1964 until he retired in 1984. He served in the military from 1944 to 1964 and was a finance officer in the U.S. Army for 21 years.
As with every year, the King parade is sure to excite with many celebrities, California state officials, mayors and councilmen being local, national and international.
This year, the KDP will be encouraging better health. The official 2012 Health Ambassador is Brittany A. Hicks, last year’s KDP 1st Runner up Princess. She is a resident of the city of Carson and is attending Loyola Marymount University.
Her reign will be for 1-year, speaking at various events, educating the public on health issues.
This year’s KDP Queen is Ms. Destiny M. Walker, who is 20-years-old and a senior at Cal State L.A.
This year’s KDP Grand Marshal will be Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, International Grand Marshal, Rev. Khae Hak Lee from the Republic of Korea, Celebrity Grand Marshal Nay-Nay Kirby. Also participating in the parade will be Division One Parade Marshal, Jerome Horton; Division Two Parade Marshal, actor and author Lou Gossett Jr.
VIP’s for this year’s parade includes, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, John W. Mack, Congressmembers Maxine Waters, Laura Richardson, Janice Hahn, Senators Rod Wright & Curren Price, Assemblymember Holly Mitchell and Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, LA Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmembers Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti, Poilce Chief Charlie Beck, Sheriff Lee Baca, city attorney Carmen Trutanich, LA Fire Chief Brian Cummings, the Tuskegee Airmen, Mother Love, actor Obba Babatunde, Radio Free KJLH, Wells Fargo Bank, and AFLCIO Executive Secretary Treasurer.
Also participating with the parade will be National Assemblyman, Kim Yong Jin from the Republic of Korea, this being his 12th year being apart of this event, Grandmaster 9th Dan and movie celebrity, Young Moon Kwan, President of the Korean-American Federation, Sang Won Park, Lt. Col. Robert Blankenship, KABC 7’s Mark Brown, Ellen Leyva and David Ono, Rob Fukuzaki and Curt Sandoval, NBC, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Metro PCS, LA Galaxy Soccer Team, Kim Eung Hwa Dance Company, Oakland Military Institute Band, Prince Hall Masonic Family, Ronald McDonald.
The parade will begin at the corner of Martin L. King Jr. Blvd and Western Ave. televised live by channel 7, ABC television, Los Angeles, CA. The Kingdom Day Parade is co-sponsored by Los Angeles Council Districts 8 & 10/ CORE-CA.