Beale community celebrates MLK event

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Heather Rose Skinkle
  • 940th Wing
Nearly 80 local residents celebrated the memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend with a 1.5 mile march from Yuba City's Sutter County Courthouse to the Balanced Life Christian Center in Marysville.

Participants held hands and sang songs during the march. Some walkers held handmade signs that had King's famous quotes or his image decorated on poster boards.

The BLCC, who hosted the event, believes in keeping with the spirit of King's message: accepting diversity, increasing communication, and being kind and peaceful to one another.

"It's about living a lifestyle of love," Pastor B.J. Kirn of the BLCC said.

According to Senior Airman Christopher Brown, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment operator and one of the BLCC's parishioners, "They've accepted me into their church and treated me like family."

Brown was raised in a military family and adapted to the typical relocations.  "This area feels like home," he said, "because it's the longest time I've lived anywhere.

For the last two years, he's helped organize the event. Even some of Brown's fellow Airmen joined him in helping out this weekend. They escorted elderly participants, worked as crossing guards, and set up refreshments. That sort of cooperative spirit is what he hopes people take away from the event.

"Celebrating King's birthday isn't an African-American holiday, it's about everyone coming together as a community," Brown said.

Brown said he hopes next year will bring an even larger turnout. He wants as many people in the surrounding community to come out for the march.

"When King gave those speeches he didn't just do it for the black community," Kirn said, "he wanted everyone to be treated equally."

Kirn has been marching since the '70s, before King's birthday was designated a national holiday, and she's spent her life spreading King's message and bring unity to the neighborhood.

"There is still unrest," Kirn said, "and it's up to individuals to put a stop to it."

Her assistant pastor, Darrell Chambers, retired U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft maintenance master sergeant, wants to ensure tolerance remains top of mind for everyone, especially his children.

"We have to keep King's dream alive and pass it along to the next generation," Chambers said. "We can do that by teaching our children that life is diverse and that's a good thing."

Many fellow event participants agreed that while celebrating a specific day for King's message of tolerance and communication is important, it is something to be mindful of everyday.