“Dr. Martin Luther King worked for workers rights, homeownership rights and health care access,” NAACP president Betty Williams said. “Every single thing that we’re dealing with right now is what Martin Luther King stood for.”
Williams said the caravan would be keeping Dr. King’s family in mind this year as they march demanding action on federal voting rights legislation in Washington. President Joe Biden has been pushing a package of bills that would more firmly protect voters rights, after some states have passed increasingly restrictive voting laws.
Williams is also urging participants to keep in mind the more immediate concern of Sacramento’s unhoused population on Monday.
“Our theme this year is to reclaim the dream, and reclaiming the dream also means affordable housing, and so we’re also looking at probably the worst times in our history as far as individuals who are homeless,” Williams said.
A recent count of unhoused people in Sacramento shows the population is disproportionately Black.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento founder Tanya Faison and her organization are co-hosting Monday’s caravan. She hopes people will use the day to remember the true Martin Luther King Jr. as an advocate and civil rights leader.
“The reason that we have this is to remind people of who Martin Luther King Jr. really was, there’s this way that folks tend to make MLK represent whatever it is they’re advocating without looking at who he is as a person, or who he was as a person,” Faison said.
The car caravan will start in North Sacramento at Grant High School at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 17. It will then make stops at Sacramento City College, the Oak Park Community Center and finish at Sacramento State University, the only California State University campus where Dr. King spoke. More information can be found here. Participants are encouraged to decorate their cars in remembrance or write messages in solidarity.
For the first time since these parades have been organized, the organization representing Asian Americans in the region, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), will also be participating and driving alongside in support of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Sacramento.
“Not just on the day that we celebrate him but every day of the year, we just hope that people leave inspired to carry on his legacy,” Faison said.