San Diego celebrates ribbon cutting of MLK Way

Saturday, February 23, 2019: There were dignitaries galore joining former San Diego City Council President Myrtle Cole (c) as she cut the ribbon to open the brand new Martin Luther King Promenade in the Broadway Heights neighborhood of San Diego, California.

The sun never shined so bright as it did that day, as members of the Broadway Heights Community Council led by their President Robert Robinson hosted all these community leaders, San Diego City Council members, representatives from both the San Diego Police Department, the local Pro Basketball Team, the San Diego Kings of the ABA, Urban League members, Pastors of local churches, local residents, etc. All were on hand to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the brand, spanking new Martin Luther King Promenade which intersects the parallel streets of Charlene Avenue and Tiffin Avenue, no doubt the two cleanest streets in all of California, if not the entire world.

Early Saturday, February 23, the sparkling Martin Luther King Promenade awaits the expected 850 to 1,200 guests.
Soon the many workers appeared and like clockwork, this phenomenal staff from the BHCC, the artisans, the volunteers made ready the delicious food and cool beverages, arranged the sound equipment, positioned the musicians with their instruments which included a very large harp. All the pieces began to fall into place, from the huge tents, the thousand plus chairs, while being mindful to leave space for the trucks from KUSI TV and the local Radio station.
Coach Louie Velez (c) of the American Basketball Association’s San Diego Kings looks down at his roster sheet and contemplates making a call to the players who promised to attend the event.
WKUSI reporter Dani Ruberti and her cameraman set up shop and began interviewing the local residents and invited guests.
With a smile on everyone’s face and everyone enjoying the festivities, there really was no need for this security detail which included the San Diego Police and the famous Buffalo Soldiers.
Here we see the musical director with his singers, an honor guard with a Gothic harp, all preparing to deliver our National Anthem.
Here we have one of the area’s popular pastors from a nearby church awaiting his turn to address the ever-increasing crowd.
Robert Robinson (r) the current President of the Broadway Heights Community Council takes time out for a photo with San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephens.
Joining Robinson (l) is former City Council member Toni Atkins who is now the California Assembly Speaker in Sacramento.
One by one the honored guest were recognized.
Everywhere you looked there was another mover and shaker poised to give praise to our local Broadway Heights Community Council. (l to r) State Assembly member Todd Lori and the newly elected District 4 Council woman Monica Montgomery.
Mustn’t overlook the previous District 4 Council Woman Myrtle Cole who is seen here with BHCC President Robert Robinson.
As they say, behind every great man, there is an even greater woman. The former President of the San Diego Town Council Myrtle Cole took a moment to recognize the hard work of Mrs. Barbara Robinson.
The dignitaries kept coming forward to give their thoughts in regard to the brand new Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade.
As far as standing out in the crowd and drawing everyone’s attention, the woman (on the left) wore an eye-catching top showcasing photos of the most famous and beautiful women of color from Oprah Winfrey to Michelle O’Bama. (right) Following Dr. Weber’s speech it came time for State Assemblyman Todd Lori to speak. He began by telling the audience, “I was once advised that I should never follow Dr. Weber in the speaker rotation. No one wants to follow this woman to the podium. After an audience listens to her talk, the next speaker seems so uninteresting.”

One of Dr. Weber’s most memorable quotes came when she was asked about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his tragic life. She likened the Civil Rights problem to the care necessary for a garden. “Freedom, equality and justice is like taking care of a rare flower. It requires constant care and attention with watering and love. Where as, hatred is a weed that grows best with neglect. So, if we are serious about the beauty of California and this great nation, we must remove the weeds so they don’t grow and fester in America.”
How many people does it take to cut a ribbon? On this day there were at least a half dozen pairs of scissors in use.
Following the ribbon cutting it took four men and two ladies to unveil the bust of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
The man responsible for creating the bust.
At times, it was as if Martin Luther King Jr. was the conscience of our country, preaching to a choir of folk that didn’t want to listen.
Like MLK, Nelson Mandela had such great insight into man’s greed.
Gloria Ushigua too, understands man’s greed.

No doubt the followers of Martin Luther King’s sensitivity to human rights and justice are still alive and want to continue the work he championed. This causeway and it’s lionize efforts in the memory of King also pay tribute to the other heroes and heroines of Civil Rights, just as we are witnessing in Venezuela. Our new street is a great beginning. It’s so new and so sparkling, that it kind of reminds of a visit to a fine jewelry store or perhaps a famous art museum where you see those signs, please do not touch.    

What a lady! Rosa Parks
“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear,” Gandhi.
How was it possible for someone like Martin Luther King Jr. to run a such a very, large organization while constantly receiving death threats? At times, survival must have been a Herculean challenge.

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968), was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his assassination in 1968. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolent methods; the type of activism inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. And like Gandhi, King and his words of wisdom keep reverberating even today, 65 years after his passing. No doubt, Reverend King’s legacy will keep on inspiring others to speak out for justice and to remain vigilant for those significant, worth-wild, essential causes that at times seem hopeless.

It’s sad that when it comes to hero worship, that most of our heroes throughout history end up being the victim of a violent act. Martin Luther King Jr. came to prominence after being a pastor of a small church in Birmingham, Alabama and then after running the largest Civil Rights movement ever, he was gunned down. And yet, his dream lives on with dignity and pride.

The following day, after the big celebration, two of the wonderful people who live in our community walked down the street just to make sure this treasure wasn’t just a figment of their imagination. They, like so many others, are thrilled by this transformation.

So, now when former neighbors and friends pass through our community, we hope they’ll recognize the unflinching efforts of our residents. When they walk their dog, jog along, ride their bike or drive through our community and especially travel up and down the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, the hope is they’ll be reminded of King’s efforts, the efforts of the City of San Diego, the efforts of the members of the Broadway Heights Community Council and the many past civil rights heroes and heroines. They just might want to stop and read one of the many Martin Luther King Jr. quotes like: “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” That quote reminds me of what my father once told me, “It’s easy to dislike the man who lives on the corner of our street, especially when you’ve never taken the time to stop and talk with him.”  

Here you see the backbone of our community.

We can’t say enough about our great allies in this daunting task. Attending the Martin Luther King Jr. Way Promenade Ribbon Cutting Ceremony were California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Assemblyman Todd Lori, Assembly Woman Dr. Shirley N. Weber who recently began her fourth term in the Assembly and took over the chair duties of the California Legislative Black Caucus. Then we have the newly elected District 4 Council woman Monica Montgomery and her predecessor the former City Council President Myrtle Cole. Cole was the City Council official who first sought and later secured the funding for this project. Also present were eight representatives of the San Diego Police Department’s Southeastern Division who spoke highly of this trouble free community who over the years has often led all of San Diego Communities as it pertains to the lowest number of UCR Crimes by Geographical Area. The Police Chief, Command Staff Captain Hara, a Lieutenant Kelso, CRO Akaan Thomas, plus four additional officers all agreed this has to be one of the finest neighborhoods in all of San Diego and surrounding Counties.

And finally, the consensus of the younger generation with whom we spoke: “What can we say, it was spectacular, historic. It’s an honor to have it done in the neighborhood in which we all grew up and where our parents still live.”

Share This Post

Pin It on Pinterest