San Francisco

Bay Area Marches, Rallies Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

A number of rallies and marches on Monday honored the legacy and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr.

The popular Caltrain NorCalMLK Celebration Train, which celebrates the life and work of the late civil rights leader through songs and lessons, left Diridon Station in San Jose at 9:45 a.m., made two stops in Palo Alto and San Mateo, and eventually arrived in San Francisco around 11 a.m. Once in the city by the bay, passengers attended a march and parade.

Some passengers indicated that this year's ride carried extra signifigance given the current state of race relations in the United States, especially in the wake of President Donald Trump's reportedly vulgar comments about Haiti and African nations.

"Right now, it's like it's going backwards with Trump in office," passenger Belinda Ahmed said. "We're taking a step backwards instead of a step forward."

A number of rallies and marches are slated to take place across the Bay Area on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Bob Redell reports.

San Francisco firefighter Andre O'Neil attended with his wife and two small children.

"We have a climate where our president has all these negative things going on and we want to kind of bring fresh air to our community," O'Neil said.

About 1,200 people signed up for this year's Celebration Train ride. That's about 250 more people than last year.

"I think there's a spike because of all the stuff that's going on in the country right now," Tasha Bartholomew from Caltrain said. "I think now more than ever people are starting to realize the true legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, his fight for racial equality and social justice. And I think the things he fought for in the 50s and 60s are things that we're still fighting for today."

Echoing some of the teachings and beliefs of the iconic civil rights leader, Celebration Train rider Lawan Ahmed called for change.

"We don't understand each other," he said. "We don't know how to talk to each other. Something has to get done because we gotta respect one another regardless of who we are and what we do and all that."

San Francisco Acting Mayor London Breed helped lead the march to the Yerba Buena gathering.

"It's a whole different day and it's more important now than ever before to be active to be engaged to be involved to do better," Breed.

Aside from the annual train ride along the Peninsula, nonprofits, religious groups and service organizations honored King with a day of action and compassion at St. John's Parish Hall in Napa. 

Over in the East Bay, a rally was held at Pittsburg City Hall. A cultural celebration followed at the Pittsburg High School Creative Arts Building.

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