Martin Luther King Day Organizers Say No Cops in the Commemoration

The reckless killing of Valentina Orellana-Peralta, a 14-yr-old struck down by an LAPD stray bullet from an assault rifle shot in a crowded store has further steeled the determination of a coalition of community and grassroots organizations to ensure that Dr. King’s legacy not be tarnished by any further inclusions of police, ICE or military contingents on the day of his commemoration this January 17th 2022.

“That LAPD bullet that murdered Valentina is a bitter reminder of what the LAPD represents and the daily fear and terror they create in Black and Brown communities,” said 23-year-old Sekou Parker of the Harvard Boulevard Block Club, one of the organizations in the Ad Hoc Coalition for the MLK March for Social Justice, whose residents live just one block from the start of the yearly Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. events.

In Los Angeles County, as reported by homicide records from the county medical examiner-coroner since 2001, at least 951 people have been killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County and nearly 80% were Black or “Latino.”

“When the LAPD are unapologetically paraded before especially Black and Brown communities as friends of those communities it is a cynical and bitter reminder of systemic racism with a side order of “your lives don’t matter,” said Jefferson Azevedo, board member of the South Central Neighborhood Council.

The Harriet Tubman Center and the coalition were the first to file for the permit application for the day last July and this will be the first time in at least 37 years that the LAPD is not invited to the commemoration day. The coalition is also part of the initiative by Dr. King’s family stressing that this year is not to be a celebration, but part of the fight for social justice to demand the Biden Administration not just fight the voter suppression avalanche aimed at especially Black voters with just talk –  but real effective action.

Contact: John Parker (323) 899-2003; Spanish-speaking media: Ron Gochez (323) 450-6113

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