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24th El Cerrito MLK Parade Monday

El Cerrito's Martin Luther King Jr. parade – said to be the oldest continuous King celebration in the East Bay – begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Department of Motor Vehicles office and will be followed by a 10:30 a.m. rally at El Cerrito High Sch

Every year El Cerrito celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and his life with a parade followed by a rally at El Cerrito High School.

This year's parade – the 24th – begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Department of Motor Vehicles at 6400 Manila Avenue, next door to City Hall. Monday in Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday.

Individuals and groups are invited to join the parade, which will be led by the El Cerrito High School Marching Band. Those who wish to join are asked to gather at the DMV at 9 a.m.

The parade in recent years has drawn hundreds of participants, including many students as well as civic and community leaders. It is the longest-running unbroken King celebration in the East Bay, according to coordinator Patricia Durham, a member of the city's Human Relations Commission.

The parade is sponsored by the City of El Cerrito, St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the El Cerrito Branch NAACP and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District, according to a notice about the parade and rally on the Human Relations Commission web page.

The rally at the high school's Performing Arts Theater is expected to last about an hour, according to a city announcement.

The program, according to announcement, will include performances by

  • Bay Area Line Dancers
  • Front & Center Riding, Horse Club 
  • Bay Area Black Cowboys
  • Students from Harding & Madera Elementary Schools
  • El Cerrito High School Jazz Band
  • Portola Middle School Jazz Band
  • Praise Dancers – Tonette Polk
  • Girl Scouts and Boy Scout of America --  El Cerrito Troop
  • Cotton Tails Mime Dancers, Richmond
  • East Bay Masonic Lodge
  • Singer Tonnie Harvey – Misa Music and Entertainment
  • Student Council, Dr. Charles Drew School - College Prep Academy, San Francisco

In addition, El Cerrito City Councilwoman Janel Abelson is expected to receive this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Award for her outstanding community service, said Gabriel Quinto, a member of the Human Relations Commission. Making the presentation will be Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, Quinto said.

The theater will be open to the public beginning at 10 a.m.

Those wishing more information can contact Durham at 510-234-2518.

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If you take any photos or videos of the parade, you can add them to this article by clicking "Upload Photos and Videos" under the accompanying flyer or send them to elcerrito@patch.com.

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