The City of Santa Clarita Celebrates MLK Day with the First Annual Unity Walk

The+Mayor%2C+council+members%2C+and+speakers%2C+and+those+in+attendence+pose+for+a+picture+at+the+MLK+unity+walk.

Photo taken by Ryan Vasquez

The Mayor, council members, and speakers, and those in attendence pose for a picture at the MLK unity walk.

Ryan Vasquez, Editor in Chief

The city of Santa Clarita hosted a quarter mile walk in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day. The event took place on Monday January 17th, in Central Park. 

The theme for this event was “Together We Are Stronger.” The event, which was located at the flagpole, began with a presentation from the new mayor, Laurene Weste, followed by a number of speakers from the Hart District Board as well as students, one from West Ranch and one from College of the Canyons. The presentations were followed by a quarter mile walk through the fields in the front of the park and back to the flagpole past the youth grove. The event was very successful with roughly over 200 people attending.

The walk was set in motion by a presentation from the Valencia High School percussion team who continued to play throughout the walk, even after it began to rain. The mayor, as well as a few speakers and City Council representatives, led those in attendance while carrying a banner.

Photo taken by Ryan Vasquez

Speakers of the event lead the Unity walk with a banner.

Photo taken by Ryan Vasquez

The Valencia High School percussion team initiate the Unity walk

 

Before the walk had begun, there were presentations from numerous notable and local speakers, the first being Dr. Cherise Moore, Hart School District Board member and the co-chair of the Human Relations Roundtable, an organization within the city aided in the creation and organizing of the MLK Walk. Throughout her speech Moore emphasized that society has progressed and we must continue to do so at any rate as she referred to MLK’s infamous quote, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

When asked what the motivation for this event was, Moore stated that as well as celebrating MLK day the goal was “to bring our community together, and to really show that we are stronger together” and “when we focus more on our similarities we do better as a community.”

Photo taken by Ryan Vasquez

Dr Cherise Moore as she speaks to those in the crowd

In the midst of the speakers following Dr. Moore those attending were encouraged to join along with Anitra King-Ballou who led the crowd in the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” which is often referred to as the black National Anthem. 

Photo taken by Ryan Vasquez

Patrons attend the presentation prior to the Unity Walk

Two of the speakers presenting in the wake of the song included students, Pratika Prasad from West ranch and Samantha McCray a sophomore at the College of the Canyons, who told The

Scroll it was important for her to speak at the unity walk because “ a lot of the things [MLK] spoke about and marched for are still happening today” as well as to “keep striving to move forward and to create the world that he was hoping [for] and wanted us to live in.”

Photo taken by Ryan Vasquez

A group wears matching shirts as they walk

  Throughout the event it was clear to see a theme of encouraging a younger demographic such as high schoolers and college students to become more active or informed about the subject of equality and civil rights. Mike Kuhlman the Superintendent of the William S. Hart School District noted that “part of our job is more than just working with students is more than just educating them to receive a diploma in math, reading,[and] writing… but it’s about being good citizens, it’s about our responsibilities toward one another. I think that we’re missing a big component or responsibility of educators if we’re not having students recognize the importance of coming out and continuing to push for… justice.” It is evident that the Hart District is representing the message well as there were many younger individuals from all backgrounds in the audience.

However, in order for change to occur, history has shown that action is required. McCray’s suggestion for high schoolers and even those beyond is “to get involved in your community” and to “get involved as young activists.” She also added that ”a lot of people don’t realize that what happens on your city council affects you the most, and just get involved, know who they are, know what they stand for.”