Has the MLK Day Parade Been Canceled Today?

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the federal holiday celebrating the birthday, life and legacy of the American civil rights leader, falls on January 17 in 2022.

Several events marking the day have been canceled due to the threat of the Omicron variant amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, the Nobel Peace Prize winner delivered his famed "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. back in August 1963.

Addressing a crowd of 250,000, King spoke of his dream that the country would live up to its belief that "all men are created equal."

Around five years later in April 1968, the civil rights activist was assassinated while he was in Memphis, Tennessee to support striking sanitation workers.

Martin Luther King Jr Day Parade Cancelations Explained

Among the most popular events is the Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles, which has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to and around Leimert Park for the past 30 years, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The parade was canceled for the second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a statement, Dr. Adrian Dove, the chairman of CORE-CA's (Congress of Racial Equality of California) Kingdom Parade, said the event was canceled "out of extreme caution and concern for the survival of our public."

The decision was made based on new COVID-19 data released by the Los Angeles County Department of Health, which revealed "severity of serious spikes in (COVID) hospitalizations in Los Angeles," the statement explained.

"The entire Board of Directors of the Kingdom Day Parade voted unanimously to take the drastic action of canceling this year's parade on the street in order to avoid even the faintest possibility of sponsoring a super-spreader event,'' Dove stated.

The latest cancellation follows that of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and celebration in Long Beach, California, which was originally scheduled to take place on January 15.

Long Beach's Councilwoman Suely Saro confirmed the cancellation in a Facebook post on January 6, noting it was canceled "out of abundance of caution" for all those working, volunteering or attending due to it being "such a large-scale event."

"With more than 1,700 cases reported in a single day, the current peak of COVID-19 is 1.6 times higher than the 2020-2021 winter surge peak, which at its highest experienced 1,052 reported cases on a single day," Saro said.

An alternative date for the parade and celebration has yet to be set but more information will be provided once it is available, according to the post.

Other major cities where some Martin Luther King Jr. events have been canceled include ones in Texas.

San Antonio's annual Martin Luther King Jr. in-person march was canceled "due to concerns around the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases" within the city and its surrounding areas, according to the San Antonio city government website.

The Martin Luther King Jr. parade was due to take place on January 17. "However, organizers of that event have canceled the parade due to the rise in COVID-19," the Fort Worth government website said.

LA's 2018 MLK Kingdom Day Parade.
Participants seen in the 2018 Kingdom Day Parade honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in Los Angeles, California. In 2022, for the second year in a row, the parade was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images