By Nicholas Ibarra | OBSERVER Staff Writer

Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day during the city-wide caravan that was held in his honor. Russell Stiger Jr., OBSERVER

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today,” said the voice of the late Martin Luther King Jr. — blasting through the speakers of the lead car of the #ReclaimMLK Caravan and Parade that was held on Jan. 17. 

About 100 cars lined up at Grant Union High School at 9 a.m, some decorated with flags, paint, and photos, to kick off the event presented by the Greater Sacramento NAACP and Black Lives Matter Sacramento. 

Darryl Lavan, 29, a musician from North Sacramento, was one of the many local residents in attendance.

“I’m really excited to be out here celebrating Martin Luther King Day and see all these people coming together,” Lavan said. “I’m excited to hear (Black Lives Matter Sacramento leader) Tanya (Faison) speak and hopefully hear the MLK speech again.” 

The 100-car caravan, accompanied by a police escort, made its way across Sacramento, shutting down streets and stopping traffic along the way. The parade started at Grant Union High School, drove through downtown, took a lap around the State Capitol, passed by Sacramento City College, visited the Oak Park Community Center, and finally ended at Sacramento State University, where it was quickly followed by speeches from Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams and BLM’s Tanya Faison.

“The turnout was excellent,” Williams said. “We got support from the City (of Sacramento) and literally shut Sacramento down for two and a half hours — from north, to south, and through midtown. We carried out the message of what the dream was about — fighting for housing, voting rights and education. It couldn’t have gone any better.” 

About 100 cars lined up to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. Here, the caravan pulls out from Sacramento City College. Russell Stiger Jr., OBSERVER

Tijera Sylvester, 30, a resident of Sacramento all her life, said, “This is amazing. I appreciate the history. I appreciate all the things that Martin Luther King Jr. went through to make this dream come true. I think it’s beautiful what they’re doing and I think it’s great to keep his legacy alive.” 

Williams spoke of plans for next year, to bring all of the MLK advocacy groups of Sacramento together and have one big celebration honoring Dr. King’s legacy.