In LA, MLK Day Really Is A Big Deal - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

In LA, MLK Day Really Is A Big Deal

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Every year for nearly the last three decades, Los Angeles has celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a parade. And every year the event seems to grow and is now billed as Southern California's largest MLK event and one of the biggest in the nation. Last year's parade featured 30 marching groups, 16 marching bands, 17 drill teams and 20 floats. And that doesn't include the tens of thousands of people who fill the streets of South Los Angeles for the festivities.

The theme of the 29th annual Kingdom Day Parade is "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Round." For those who are wondering where that phrase came from, there is a highly spirited old gospel standard that was very popular in black churches decades ago with almost the same title. And while the sentiment of that theme speaks volumes, I think the community service angle being pushed by King Day celebration promoters is even more efficacious.

There is no question that history will judge Dr. King as one of the greatest orators of the 20th Century. His speeches and quotations are among the most memorable since this country's inception. In fact, King's "I Have A Dream" speech, delivered on a sweltering August day in 1963 in Washington, D.C., is not only his most famous, by most accounts, it was largely unscripted. For all of its lofty eloquence and execution, much of what King told the crowd of roughly 200,000 that day was extemporaneous. He was speaking from the heart. It was and remains to this day a testament to King's largely unparalleled ability to inspire people to act. And therein lies King's true talent; the penchant to move people to action. As such, the legendary civil rights leader would probably heartily approve of people celebrating his memory primarily by performing random acts of community service.

By the way, newly elected mayor Eric Garcetti will serve as the grand marshal of this year's parade, which will feature a number of other local celebrities and dignitaries.

I am aware that lately, much has been made of the fact that Dr. King was far from perfect. But then again, who is? Yes, he was human and flawed like all of us, including our most venerable leaders both past and present. But to me, a test of one's greatness is the ability to rise above his or her frailties to effectuate indelible change in the human condition. On that score, Dr. Martin Luther King ranks right up there with the greatest.

Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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