SACRAMENTO – Over 28,000 participants braved an early morning chill to “March for the Dream” in honor of the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 16, 2012. An enthusiastic assortment of elected officials, business/civic/community leaders and residents from Sacramento and other surrounding areas representing many diverse ethnicities and backgrounds participated in marches that left from the Oak Park Community Center, Sacramento City College and Grant High School.

“Themed Miles” encouraged participation throughout parade
A new addition to this year’s march was the creation of “themed miles” along the parade route. Each of the six miles throughout the march carried a symbolic theme to reflect the importance of the day and the mission of MLK365. During mile one – the “Silent Mile” – marchers were asked to be quiet to reflect on the memory of those who gave their all, such as civil rights icons, members of the military, civilians and law enforcement. During the “Unity Mile,” mile two, participants walked arm in arm in the fashion of the civil rights leaders. During mile three’s “Community Ownership Mile,” participants were encouraged to take ownership in their community and help support MLK365 by texting “DREAM” to 8-0-0-7-7 to donate $10 to help support MLK 365 to “keep the dream alive” by assisting MLK 365 in providing grants and school-based programs. Mile four, the “Dream Mile,” asked participants to share their dreams for the future with friends and family. During the “Diversity Mile” – mile five – marchers were encouraged to meet someone from another culture and to listen, talk and walk with them. The last mile, the “Celebration Mile,” asked marchers to begin celebrating during the final mile leading up to the Sacramento Convention Center.

The Convention Center Celebration
Once marchers reached the Sacramento Convention Center, they were greeted with a variety of interesting activities for people of all ages. This year’s theme was “EDUCATION.” Teachers from across the region hosted an Education Village for students in grades kindergarten through junior high, featuring crafts, face painting, movies, singing and various types of educational resources. The MLK365 Multicultural Talent Showcase of Stars and Dramatic Actors Improv were also highlights of the day. A Wisdom Corner provided a comfortable place to hear poetry, stories from the past and lessons from past generations for younger generations.

Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program
This year, members of Class III of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program provided assistance with the planning and execution of the march. The Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program, a selective 10month professional development program, is designed to prepare its Fellows for effective and ethical leadership in their companies and communities. The Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program offers leadership training customized to the specific challenges faced by culturally diverse leaders. Fellows will graduate ready to put their talents to work in the public and private sectors, acting as catalysts for positive change in our community. Click here for more information about Class III of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program.

About MLK 365
MLK365 is a Martin Luther King Jr. inspired, value-centered non-profit organization committed to advancing the principles of social change as a strategy for building strong and healthy communities 365 days a year. MLK365 is a non-profit organization/movement that advances the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. through value-based advertising campaigns, civic, work and educational challenge grants and regional events and student programs to promote civic engagement, character development and social action. For the last 30 years, MLK365 hosts the MARCH FOR THE DREAM, an event that attracts 20,000 plus marchers to the Capitol of California. For more information, please visit http://www.mlk365.org/ or call 916-995-3882.