NewsCovering Kern County


Many in Bakersfield honor Dr. Martin Luther King, continue to push his dream forward

Community leaders prep for the annual MLK March
Posted at 11:34 PM, Jan 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-20 02:34:58-05

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. day which is recognized as a Federal Holiday. The purpose of the day is to honor the Civil Rights activist in remembrance of his legacy.

Even right here in Bakersfield, many are continuing to push his dream forward.

"I believe that God actually went through Dr. Martin Luther King to save this world, to be united now," said Joshua Bellows Carter, attendee.

Nine-year-old Carter, along with many others today gathered at the Mr. Discounts store in S.E. Bakersfield to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The group welcomed all in need of friendship, support, and service. Isaiah Crompton, a community activist, says the day was filled with words of encouragement.

“We need to see his dream come true," Crompton said. "We still need to see his vision manifest itself, so we are working towards that."

The birthday celebration of the Civil Rights activist offered free dinner.

The event comes on the eve of MLK March 2020 that is kicking off at Belle Terrace Park.

The March has taken place in Bakersfield for over 20 years.

The goal is to continue to remind the community of the history of the Civil Rights movement and why it was established.

23ABC spoke with Eddie Ellis, one of the founders of the March here in Bakersfield, who says they hope to get more people involved.

"This is why we want to get the younger people educated on why we do this and what the purpose is," Ellis said. "It is part of American history and black history that we never want to forget. We want to pass it on to other generations and future generations."

Crompton shares that he was one of the individuals over a decade ago that pushed to honor Dr. King here, by renaming a street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

"We changed the name to Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. so that it would bring in businesses and lessen the violence," Crompton said. "Eventually, the silence was lessened, but we still have a lot of blight and we still need to see some businesses come in."

Crompton says it’s important to show children a constant example that the community stills believe in the core values of Dr. King.

"There are opportunities for us today that we maybe didn’t have a few months ago or years ago to, rebuild this community from the inside out," Crompton said.

"We need help, but I am here struggling as much as I can to make a difference. "

The mile march will begin at 6 p.m. and will conclude at People's Missionary Baptist Church followed by a sermon and celebration.