Martin Luther King Day Parade Dominated by Law Enforcement and Military – a Photo Gallery

by on January 16, 2012 · 6 comments

in Culture, History, Popular, San Diego

After positioning myself on the median along Harbor Drive near the very front of Sunday’s Martin Luther King Day Parade, I watched the entire event and took over 160 photos of the marchers, floats, bands, and collections of people participating.

And I can say this without hesitation:  the Martin Luther King Day Parade is dominated by law enforcement and the military.  There were more of these groups than civic organizations, churches or sororities.

The San Diego Police Department, the Border Patrol, the Harbor Patrol, ICE, Homeland Security, the San Diego Sheriffs, the ROTC marchers, and even the FBI marched in this parade that honors a man of peace and justice.  I mean the FBI persecuted Martin Luther King to the hilt – its leader, J. Edgar Hoover believed King was the most dangerous man in America.  The Border Patrol, ICE, and Homeland Security all routinely violate peoples’ rights.

The San Diego Police and Sheriffs have been involved in cracking down on San Diego’s Occupy dissenters. This attack on San Diego protesters has been an unprecedented assault on American citizens’ basic and fundamental rights, the right of assembly, the right to freedom of speech, the very right to protest and dissent where cops are arresting protesters on the most flimsiest of excuses.

The Parade, annually set, has gotten away from King’s original ideas and values.  Someone said that King would roll over in his grave if he saw what was done in his name.

In the meantime, there were efforts by folks to reclaim the Parade, what with Veterans for Peace, Occupy San Diego demonstrators, others promoting King’s words of peace, justice and tolerance.

And there were all the sororities, high school marching bands, great floats by local colleges.  Of course, the politicians were there: Mayor Sanders near the front of the Parade, with mayoral candidates Bob Filner and Bonnie Dumanis not far behind.

Here’s our gallery of the marchers, floats, cars, and banners (click on small version for a larger one):

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Khalilah Sabra January 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Every year we celebrate the virtues of Martin Luther King. We celebrate the “Dream.”
I wonder if the “dream” is nothing but a palpable illusion we use to trick ourselves into believing in a democracy that does not truly exist. The “dream” is, sadly, taking us away from the truth. The “dream” is not allowing us to acknowledge that we still manipulate the labor of the poor, segregate schools, disenfranchise the poor and deny our own moral impotency. The “dream” is becoming a familiar myth in progress: a celebration of self-awarded respite from concern for those who continue to suffer and from those who continue to be oppressed in “the land of the free.”
Three years ago, a group of interfaith torchbearers met in Tel Aviv to commiserate about peace and justice. It was lead by the son of Martin Luther King, Jr. Since then, I have noticed, progress has not picked up speed and moved at rates un-”dreamed” of. American children still go to bed hungry and teeth still rot in the ghetto.
The “dream” is more of a hallucination. It is like mental illness. There is no basis for optimism. Rage surged in Martin’s time and continues during our time. Rage is more technologically advanced and it has grown worse. Twisted and contorted, the lives of Latinos, Palestinians, detainees at Guantanamo Bay, gender oppressed women, the homeless, the hopeless people of color – all these lives have grown only more intricately twisted into a nightmare that we continue to deny and give proof to the fact that “time does not heal all things” but only makes more of us passive, tranquil and invulnerable observers of the numerous scenes of pain.
Omid Safi, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, summed it up best when he said, “It is time to stop and ponder not who killed Martin, but who kills the Dream now. A bullet killed Martin on April 4, 1968. We kill Martin every day, we kill the Dream now, when we stand aside and look, when we ignore the prophetic challenge that this beautiful liberated man of God posed to us.”
We as Americans have the most powerful military in the world, a dominant and pervasive culture, some of the best universities, and still one of the most creative economies. As Spiderman once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This day, every day, if we want to honor Martin, let us realize that: “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

Next year, same time,
Khalilah Sabra
Muslim American Society, Immigrant Justice Center


avatar john January 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm

well of course those were the dominant participants…. it’s a paid holiday for all of them. most private sector employees don’t get that bennie.
I think you’d find a similar breakdown for most parades outside of the Rose Bowl or Mother Goose parade. Would flowery floats staffed with tiara crowned beauty queens be appropriate for this one? (visions of the ending sequence of “Animal House” dancing in me head…) 14 shriner clowns piling out of a Mini?
I found it curious though that City trash pickup went as scheduled today, all other Monday holidays it’s delayed a day.
Good coverage nonetheless!


avatar Frank Gormlie January 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm

John, thanks. I was thinking while watching it yesterday that the MLK parade has become one of the main San Diego parades – outside of sports parades. The other being the Gay Day Parade.


avatar Joe Howard Crews, Fallbrook January 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Only the OB Rag dares tell the truth that this parade is more a tribute to law enforcement, than a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King. It is reprehensible that the oppressors of Dr. King pretend to be honoring this great man. Kind of like the right wing praising the Founding Fathers, or right wing religious ideologues scorning the homeless. It’s all very hypocritical.
My favorite sign at the parade quoting Dr. King on one side said “Never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was legal. – MLK” The other side of the sign said “And never forget that everything Wall Street did in looting America, was legal too. – OCCUPY”


avatar The Bearded OBcean January 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Conservatives can’t praise the founding fathers? Really?

Police can’t honor Dr King either? Really?


avatar rick trujillo January 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Why waste time, there are loads of folks, individuals and groups, who agree with the absolutely correct OBRag analysis–reality is difficult to challenge–especially with photos. So, lets do our own action.
There are many options and it would just be great fun to ” do the right thing” and organize a plan, place and date to counter the LIE–this is not about arguing the merits of anything but independence from them–and who is gonna stop us? To them, we say, no thanks, we are going a different path–a clean sweep, no uniforms , badges, guns, drill teams, etc. Ya Basta–enough, bogus is not in our peace vocabulary.
Occupy the Dream of Our Dr. King, a true leader of the 99%, even now.
A whole year to get critical mass on board and take up the same campaign of our Man of Peace, right where he left off. A continuance of his work.
And what a great time meeting new people and concentrate on the positive.
Just say no to war, police brutality, corruption, bigotry, borders, military industrial complex–yes to education, cooperation, health care, income equality, the whole tamale–we would attract thousands–tens of thousands who desire in the most humble and unifying way to honor ……pause….no words are enough….God, do we miss him.
rick trujillo


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