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Coachella Valley honors Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day, just 2 days after the late civil rights leader's birthday.

“The dream was about, you know, making everyone equal,” said Jarvis Crawford, chair of Palm Springs' MLK Commemoration Committee.

His actions not only made an impact then but continue to influence so many people and organizations today.

“The world is going to be a better place once we all realize that we are all the same and it's not a certain class of people. It's not a white or a black or brown or, or a rich or poor. You know, it's us. It's us as humans living in this world,” Crawford said.

Crawford said Monday is a day to get out and make change for the better.

“Please go out and do something positive today. Be it help someone that you see outside of a grocery store. If it's an organization.. donate towards an organization, but make sure it's something for good, don't just let it be something to say, hey, look, what I did know, do it for good and do it from the heart as well,” Crawford said.

But for one local soul food chef – she’s honoring the late civil rights leader in another way.

“When I was a little younger, my friends and I would get together and we would cook and celebrate Martin Luther King Day with food so that’s why I wanted to make sure it was on my menu,” said Chef Betty, owner of B’s Table in La Quinta.

Chef Betty says her love language has always been soul food.

“It’s kind of in my DNA," Chef Betty said.

Chef Betty cooks everything from her home kitchen. She even had a sweet southern menu to honor Martin Luther King Jr on Monday, which included soul food favorites like pulled pork, coleslaw, corn bread, and of course– red beans and rice.

“I mean, red beans and rice. I mean, you can’t get anymore Louisiana or Southern than that," Chef Betty said.

Chef Betty says she hopes she can make a difference– through her cooking.

“All the work that he has done, and how much more work we continue to have to do and this is my way of you know, being a face and a voice to further that,” Chef Betty added.

Meanwhile, residents gathered at several events to commemorate MLK.

On Sunday, Coachella and Palm Springs hosted a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance ceremony. The program celebrated his accomplishments and featured a benediction from Deacon Martin Sullivan from Our Lady of Soledad Catholic Church followed by a keynote speech from local attorney Anyse Smith.  

Monday afternoon, First Community Baptist Church in Desert Hot Springs held a celebration prayer. They also recognized students from the local middle and high schools who participated in an essay contest about today.

"I remember being a young woman, a young woman fighting for this to be a holiday when it wasn't a national holiday, and still celebrating it at that time, because it was so important to acknowledge the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, and all that he did to liberate all people, not just people of color, but all people in the United States of America. So there could be equality," said Reverend Mercedes Tudy-Hamilton. a guest speaker at the local ceremony and pastor of AK Quinn A.M.E. Church in Moreno Valley.

Decades after his passing, Martin Luther King Jr. remains a beacon of activism for his work during the civil rights movement.

On Monday, civil rights advocates took part in a peace march at our nation’s capital to demand congress pass stricter protections for voting rights. 

Although a lot of change has been made in the fight for equality – many of the people who spoke with News Channel 3 said there's still a lot more to be done.

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.

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