San Diego celebrates MLK's legacy
SAN DIEGO -- San Diegans began celebrating Martin Luther King Day Monday morning with the 24th annual All People's Breakfast at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.

The slain civil rights leader would have turned 83 on Sunday.

The keynote speaker is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who wrote "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant'' in the New York Times Magazine last June.

"The theme of today's breakfast is 'Opportunity, Inclusion and Acceptance,' and I think that's always been the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., and I think that's what we're celebrating here today," Vargas told Fox 5 News before the breakfast. "I'm frankly honored and humbled to have been asked to do the keynote today and talk about illegal immigration and how that fits into that conversation of inclusion, opportunity and acceptance."

The two-hour program also includes short digital stories of overcoming intolerance told by San Diegans of diverse backgrounds, including former county Supervisor Leon Williams, Viejas Tribal Chairman Anthony Pico, and Susan Madison, San Diego's Disability Services Program Coordinator.

Estela De Los Rios, executive director of the Center for Social Advocacy, will receive the San Diego Human Relations Commission's Ashley L. Walker Social Justice Award at the event.

"The title of our group is 'All People's Breakfast,' and all means all," event chairwoman Cheryl Alethia Phelps said. "Every person wants the same things. Everyone wants human dignity. Everyone aspires to have the same opportunities and treatment as everyone else."

King Day festivities kicked off Sunday afternoon with the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade  in downtown San Diego and paid tribute the slain civil rights leader, who would have turned 83 Sunday.

 “We come to the parade to remember Martin Luther King and everything he did for us,” Emily Ramos said while she waited for the parade. “It’s history, you know it’s the reason [our children] are able to do whatever they want."

The parade was organized by Alpha Phi Alpha, the country's oldest black fraternity, of which King was a member.

Sunday was also a day to reflect for many. Members of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha organized a forum about Kings legacy for young people in the area.

The students stuffed back packs  with school supplies for underprivileged children in the area and then they read King’s famous “I have a dream speech.”

“Just reading those words, it reminds me of how much people sacrificed for me to have the life I have today and I want to give back as best as possible,” high school senior Alanah Grisham said.

King, a Baptist preacher, led the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., and later founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

In 1963, the led a march to Washington, D.C., where he delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech in which he foresaw that "my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

A march to Selma, Ala., in 1965, was met with police and mob violence and later became known as "Bloody Sunday."

King drew his inspiration for nonviolent protest from Mahatma Gandhi and became one of leading anti-war activists as the war in Vietnam dragged on.

On April 4, 1968, just a day after delivering his "I have been to the mountaintop" speech, he was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tenn., at 6:01 p.m. by escaped convict James Earl Ray.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan made King's birthday a national holiday-- it was not observed until 1986 -- to be celebrated on the third Monday every January.