Photo courtesy of Long Beach City Councilman Dee Andrews' Office.
Long Beach Councilman Dee Andrews’ office has announced the grand marshals for the city’s 28th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Parade and Celebration this Saturday, and the names, both big and small, will leave you impressed.
The honorees include former Senator Betty Karnette, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, the Jenni Rivera family, John Molina, Lois Irving, Sharon Scott McLucas, Suely Saro, Wayne Chaney Sr., Marion and Dorothy Lee and Minnie Mouse.
“We are very fortunate to have individuals in our community that reach beyond the everyday challenges to include serving others in a way that uplifts the entire community," Andrews stated in a press release. "It is people like these individuals that keep hope alive in our neighborhoods."
Karnette, who received a teaching credential from Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) in 1961, taught math and science and Los Angeles Unified School District. In 1970 she received a master’s degree in education and wrote her thesis on the history of education for Black Americans before the Civil War. She began her political career in 1992 as a state assemblywoman. In 1996 she began a stint in the state senate—representing Long Beach San Pedro and Lakewood—that lasted until she was termed out of office in 2004, the release stated.
Knabe, who represents Long Beach, was first elected to the board of supervisors in 1996 and overwhelmingly re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. He is known for establishing the Safe Surrender program, allowing someone to surrender an infant within 72 hours of birth, as long as the infant shows no sign of abuse. Two such incidents were reported in Long Beach in 2015. He has also announced plans to create a scholarship program benefiting safely surrendered children.
The family of the late Latin Grammy winner Jenni Rivera run the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation, which helps single mothers who have suffered illness, poverty, addictions, domestic violence and sexual abuse, according to the release. They have served at the Sixth District’s annual Thanksgiving banquet and co-hosted Christmas toy giveaways.
Molina is the chief financial officer of Molina Healthcare and oversees all financial and corporate development functions. While CFO, the company went public and more than doubled the number of Medicaid lives it covers, as well as tripled revenues, the release stated. The company reaches 11 states and Puerto Rico since its IPO in 2003. Molina received a bachelor’s degree in economics from CSULB where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society. He also earned a juris doctorate from USC.
Saro works as a field representative in the Office of Senator Ricardo Lara and is the co-founder of Women for Women Foundation in Cambodia and sole proprietor of Sudaya—which creates a marketplace in the U.S. for handmade products by artisans in Cambodia, the release said. She became the first Cambodian American executive director of Khmer Girls in Action, which develops the leadership among Southeast Asian young women and men in Long Beach, it added.
Irving is one of the main organizers for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Celebration, Father’s Day Breakfast, Juneteenth Celebration and Thanksgiving Banquet. She is known for her working in improving child literacy and increasing education and academic opportunities for youth in Long Beach’s Sixth District. She is also passionate about feeding the children and the hungry, according to the release.
McLucas is the president of the Long Beach Section of the National Council of Negro Women and has a long history of volunteering with the Long Beach Poly football and track teams as well as six years of Martin Luther King Jr. Parade coordination. McLucas and her husband operate “Forgotten Images: A Traveling African American Museum Exhibit.”
Lifelong Long Beach resident and Long Beach firefighter, Chaney Sr. attended Poly High, Long Beach City College and CSULB. He was the recipient of the NAACP Community Award, Press Telegram Community Hero Award, Long Beach Fire Department Employee of the Year and the Rotary Club Community Service Award. He has also been recognized for his services to the community by state and congressional officials.
The Lees, who have been Long Beach residents since 1952 and married for 63 years, have worked in the city for decades. Marion became the city’s first black auto mechanic, working in that capacity for 38 years. Dorothy worked as a Long Beach Unified School District teacher for 28 years. They owned and operated Lee’s Family BBQ for many years. They are longtime active members of Christ 2nd Baptist Church and lifetime members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, according to the release.
Walt Disney’s Minnie Mouse will be honored as the “Children’s Youth Grand Marshall.”
The parade—themed “Infinite Hope”—will take place on Saturday, January 16.
Participants will start on Martin Luther King, Jr. at Anaheim Street at 10:30AM, then proceed north on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, turn right (east) on 19th Street, and turn left (north) on Lemon Avenue. Free parking is available at LBCC on Orange Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. Shuttle buses at LBCC will transport participants and spectators to and from the parade route from 7:30AM to 10:00AM.
For more information contact the Office of Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrew 562.570.6816 or click here.