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Hundreds of Bakersfield residents celebrate, honor Dr. Martin Luther King

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jan 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 19:16:59-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Martin Luther King Junior Day in Bakersfield was filled with celebrations and service projects Monday.

A march in southeast Bakersfield kicked off with over 100 people in attendance at 6 p.m. in Southeast Bakersfield.

The group were led by chants from Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh and former Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin, as they made their way over to the People's Missionary Baptist Church.

Throughout the day, several other events honoring King were held, including the annual Community Awards Breakfast, which garnered over 400 people.

At the breakfast, several recounted the contributions King made towards advancing civil rights.

Alma Nealy, a former teacher in Bakersfield said she had the opportunity to meet King when she was younger.

"I was a young person at that time, just starting out," Nealy said.

"He had a lot of influence on us."

King's influence was also apparent in Lamont, where dozens of youth gathered for the 4th annual MLK Day clean up.

Though King never made his way to Kern County, he and Cesar Chavez the local labor leader and civil rights activist were inspired by each other's work.

Andres Chavez, the grandson of Cesar Chavez, said "Doctor King sent him (Chavez) a telegram in 1966.

"In the telegram he pretty much said that our separate struggles are pretty much really one."

The struggle for freedom, the struggle for dignity and for humanity, Andres said.