MLK Day March
Obama fans come out in droves for Martin Luther King Day rally
Monday, January 19, 2009
A soulful A cappella of “Happy Birthday” lingered in the hot noon sun as more than 300 people started marching down Broadway Avenue in Seaside to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But Dr. King had to share the spotlight. With his inauguration a day away, marchers donned masks of President-elect Barack Obama and “Time for a Change” shirts.
Helen Blakeney-Staten, who stood toward the front of the parade representing the Seaside chapter of The Veterans of Foreign Wars, said Obama is continuing King’s social justice legacy. “President-elect Obama is continuing the vision to make sure things change for all Americans,” Blakeney-Staten said. “This is a new cycle of change.”
Shiron Andrews of Monterey said the march signifies unity of all people to make a better tomorrow, adding that Obama embodies that spirit as the country’s first African American president. “We can do it people together as one force, regardless of the color of your skin,” Andrews said.
From United Farm Workers flags to Seaside church banners and peace signs, the march represented a diverse group of interests. The procession walked along Fremont Boulevard and ended at the Oldemeyer Center for the keynote address by Thomas N. Todd, Chicago attorney and former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Operation Push and professor at Northwestern University’s School of Law. The march was organized by the Pan-Hellenic Council.