Thousands turn out for 39th annual MLK Jr. Parade

SAN DIEGO -- Thousands of San Diegans came out Monday to watch and participate in the 39th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.

Leading the parade were representatives from various branches of law enforcement,  including the San Diego Police  Department, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol.

State Assemblyman Todd Gloria, who is running for San Diego mayor, participated in the parade, as did  Assemblywoman Toni Atkins.  Representatives of the San Diego Gulls and the Gulls Girls also took part.

But the heart and soul of the parade were the everyday folks who came out from all walks of life, all ages, beliefs and dreams.  One little girl shared her dream of being a photographer, and another did solo dance.  The most colorful participants were part of a group called the San Diego Soaring Eagles who honored their Native American heritage.

The parade is put on by the Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.  It is the oldest African-American fraternity in America, founded in 1906 at Cornell University in New York.  Dr. King was a member. The group touts this parade as one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the US.

Spectators lined Harbor Drive as dozens of floats, high school bands, drill teams, colleges and church groups passed by under crystal clear San Diego sky.   It was a celebration of peace and love, honoring the message of Dr. King and his enduring dreams.

One man who watched the parade with his three children put it this way: “We are all diverse, and we should all look at each other the same.”

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