BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Americans pausing to celebrate the national holiday marking what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior’s 93 birthday to reflect on his life of selfless service and his tireless pursuit of racial equality.

Key figures from all across Kern County came together to honor Martin Luther King Junior Day as well as to bring awareness to marginalized groups within our own community.

The morning event celebrated the life of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as distinguished community members across Kern County.

“The message today was not one of us but all of us,” Michael Bowers the vice president of public affairs for Centric Health said. “Not just black people only but all of us, White people, Hispanic people, Asian people and the message was a message of unity.”

The event was a celebration for our community but it also was a call to action for change in the South and East parts of Bakersfield.

“Even in the pandemic I think our reception was wonderful and so I think,” Minister Wesley Crawford Sr. the chairman of the MLK Committee said. “Do we have more to go? Yes. Can it get better? Yes. But I think through collaboration, did you see all these organizations here? As we collaborate, we’ll move forward and change the face of southeast Bakersfield.”  

17’s News Director Michael Trihey was honored with a humanitarian award at the event.

Bowers the event keynote speaker said the day is all about unity.

“What Dr. Martin Luther King means to me on MLK day is a day of service,” Bowers said. “Not just today but the next 364 days of the year. We all have to work together as one voice, not one of us, but all of us.”

The center already taking that step forward by giving hot meals and clothes to the homeless in the community.

The leaders fed the homeless inside the center and outside across Bakersfield. They did this because they said MLK stood for the homeless.