January 17, 2013
By KENNETH MILLER
Sentinel Staff Writer
Los Angeles Dodgers All Star outfielder Matt Kemp will join Los Angeles Sentinel and LA Watts Times Publisher Danny J. Bakewell Sr. as celebrity grand marshal for the 28th annual Kingdom Day Parade on Saturday Jan. 19th at 10:15 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Los Angeles.
The 28-year old Kemp is the face of the Dodgers having established himself as a superstar with two All Star game selections, two gold glove awards, two silver slugger awards, the National League home run champion in 2011 and Baseball America Player of the Year in 2011.
Kemp will follow Kingdom Day Parade Grand Marshal-Danny Bakewell Sr., the long time civil rights advocate and media mogul, in the parade line-up that will feature more than 100 entrants. Kim Young Jio will serve as the International grand marshal.
Sponsored by Congress of Racial Equality (CORE-CA), a local non-profit organization, The Kingdom Day Parade will be held without its founder Larry Grant for the first time. Grant died in August 2012.
However, Grant’s grandson DaShon Williams will serve as the parade president, which will carry the theme, “Self Liberation in the Present, Remembering the Present the Past and Moving into the Future.”
The event honors the legacy of Dr. King who was murdered at the age of 39 almost 43 years ago. President Ronald Reagan signed a law in 1983 declaring the third week of January as a commemoration of a national holiday.
Veteran actress Marla Gibbs and Academy Award winning actor Lou Gossett Jr. are scheduled to participate as well as Leroya Sanford, Beth Tayne and Harold Williams from the entertainment industry.
Radio station KJLH, LAUSD Beyond The Bell Program, AEG, Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-11 Corp., McDonalds, BP and Ace Beverage are among the contributing sponsors for the parade.
“The important things is that people realize that without the support of a great team that features DaShon Williams, Grandmaster Chun and Del Huff this task would have been impossible,” said Adrian Dove, chairman of the Kingdom Day Parade.
Event organizers decided to move the date to Saturday for the first time in the history of the event to accommodate the Inauguration of President Obama which will take place on Monday Jan. 21.
Among this year’s highlights that will be televised by KABC 7, are floats such as the late Henry Armstrong Memorial Float, which is a recreation of a full boxing ring. Other prominent entrants include The Clinic float, a float by SEIU Local 721 and the always-popular Teamsters semi-truck.
An estimated crowd of more than 300,000 are expected to follow the route that covers 3.1 miles and is scheduled to last roughly two hours, concluding with a festival at Leimert Park.
The Kingdom Day Parade is considered among the most prestigious and longest running events celebrating Dr. King’s legacy in the nation, beginning 32 years ago in San Diego under the guidance of the late Grant.
Grant will be memorialized along with his idol during an event that he dedicated his life to, and on Saturday Jan. 19 it is surely ready to roll just as if he would have it himself.