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Yuba-Sutter holds King Unity March today
WHAT: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March and Birthday Celebration.
WHEN: 10 a.m. today.
WHERE: Starts at Yuba County Courthouse in Marysville and ends at Crossroads Community Church in Yuba City.
After 15 years, Charlese Harris still remembers why she started the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March in Yuba-Sutter.
"It was a heart thing," she said.
The march, which starts at today at the Yuba County Courthouse in Marysville and ends at the Crossroads Community Church in Yuba City, has become an annual Yuba-Sutter tradition. It's a time when residents come together to wave banners and posters in celebration of the famous civil rights activist's birthday.
Harris created the march in the late 1990s and has organized almost every facet of the event in an effort to make sure Yuba-Sutter has the march it deserves each year, she said.
But after this year, she's calling it quits.
"It's had its time, and it's seen its season," Harris said, "but it's time to do something different now."
Harris expects the event to continue without her, she said, but it will likely carry on under a different coordinator and a new name.
Her successor hasn't been named.
"I've been hoping and praying that the right person will be chosen for the job," she said.
For Harris, the job of coordinator pretty much chose her, she said. In order to hold the event, Harris had to file applications with both cities, but found that it was easier with friends and family egging her on.
However, having a lot of experience participating in MLK marches growing up helped too, she said. Harris, born and raised in Washington state, grew up in an area where King's birthday was widely celebrated. She still remembers marching in Yakima as a little girl.
"We marched every year in the cold and in the snow," she said.
The marches were very meaningful to Harris, who said she continued to develop admiration and respect for King as she got older.
"I've always loved Dr. King like a father figure," she said, "even though I've never met him."
Harris did get to see one of her heroes, though, when she saw noted civil rights activist Rosa Parks at a convention in Yakima. She was awestruck, she said. It was an experience she has always remembered, and one that eventually served as inspiration for her to start the Unity March in Yuba-Sutter years later.
Now that Harris has solidified her Unity March, she plans on moving back to Washington, she said. But she's not saying good-bye for good.
"I'm looking forward to coming back for the 20th annual," she said.
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.