(SACRAMENTO) – For some, the local March For The Dream is a yearly tradition, a trek they make along with their relatives, classmates, their churches or members of the social or community-based organizations they participate in. Others are spurred to march by racism that has happened locally and nationally and threats to civil liberties, health care and education that are impacting African Americans across the country.

Sacramento joined cities across the country Monday in celebrating the life and legacy of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr. Participants in the 39th Annual March For The Dream created a sea of brown faces as far as the eye could see.  The event was held at Sacramento City College this year. In years past, the march saw participants winding their way through city streets to the downtown Convention Center, but demolition of the building prompted a change in this year’s march. Director Sam Starks said a change in course was a temporary thing and wouldn’t take the community off course from the change it must work toward.

“It’s not just about looking back at the past or honoring the past, but that it’s about honoring Dr. King by putting his ideals into practice to impact the future,” Starks previously told the OBSERVER.

Stevante Clark, the brother of Stephon Clark, a local unarmed Black man who was shot in Meadowview on March 18, 2018 when police officers mistook his cell phone for a gun, spoke about keeping his brother’s legacy alive and the importance of using one’s voice to speak up and speak out, as Dr. King did.

“If Dr. King was alive today, he would be speaking out against the injustices which are happening in our Sacramento community,” Clark said.

Clark’s family rode in a float as part of the Extra Mile, which brings participants, including local leaders, from the Oak Park area to Sacramento City College. Also participating in the Extra Mile was Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams, who used the platform to urge people to support the veteran rights organization, the U.S. Census and to support those who have their best interest at heart during the upcoming elections .

“We need to take the extra mile for voting,” Ms. Williams said. 

“We need to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” she continued.

The march concluded with an expo, held outside along the college campus’ quad areas. Vendors shared information on everything from reproductive rights to estate planning and educational opportunities for area children.

Story by OBSERVER Staff

Photo By Russell Stiger, Jr.