Martin Luther King March in Sacramento
By Tracie Rice-Bailey

I have been marching the MLK march for the past 6 years. It is something I look forward to during the year. This year was different in that I was unable to march the entire march due to serious health issues.

I watched the beginning of the march on television and it was wonderful to see all the beautiful POOR people gather to march this iconic annual event.

I got a ride to the corner of 10th and W streets so I could watch the march from there. While I was in the van, on the way to the march, I heard MLK speaking on the radio. He was calling poor people to action, to build tent cities across America, to set up tents at the Capitol and then OCCUPY them. I was excited as I walked the last block to 10th street. I saw the first of the marching bands all dressed in gold and making some noise.

By the time I got to the corner, the bands had passed and the marchers were coming on the scene. And what a scene it was. I watched as hundreds of people passed me - so many beautiful people all walking the walk for freedom, equality and justice.

There were people of all ages from the babies in the strollers to the very old, all with a vision of Dr. Kings dream. The last time I saw that many people United for a march was in Detroit at the United States Social Forum. These beautiful people seemed to go on forever, the hundreds soon turned to thousands and the thousands to masses. I could actually envision all these beautiful poor people going to the White House to occupy in protest of the massive inequalities we all suffer in these devastating times.

I saw poor people’s banners and so many people, but, not much noise. There were no demands, no protests, no singing or shouting, simply thousands of people marching together. I even saw three political figures marching, they would be
Council member Angelique Ashby, Assembly member Roger Dickenson and President Pro Tem, Darryl Steinberg. There may have been more, but these are the three figures I knew and recognized.

It seemed like a good half hour, maybe longer, until I caught sight of the Safe Ground banner turning the corner onto 10th from Broadway, by then I was at about 10th and V or U. I waited as the Safe Ground and the Occupy Sacramento banners neared and joined the march at that point.

I marched the rest of the march with Safe Ground and Occupy Sacramento, mostly with Occupy. One of the women holding the Occupy sign was chanting as she marched. King would have loved her spirit. She was shouting “WAKE UP! WAKE UP SACRAMENTO! WAKE UP! There were chants like “We are the 99%” “One People, One Voice” there was the blast of the horn (like the horn of Jericho) and then calling on the Lord, a lot of hallelujahs, then back to the chants.

There were hundreds of people still behind us, so I do not know if there were any other folks chanting, bringing attention
to the issues of the day or if it was just Occupy chanting.

When we rounded the corner to the Convention Center, I got to hold the end of the Occupy banner. It was hard with my weak arms, but we held it high. The banner said OCCUPY the DREAM and was beautifully hand made.

After the march, I tried to get into the Convention Center. There were so many thousands of people that the door was blocked. I finally got in only to find the first exhibit hall full to capacity. I was already kind of tired from the little way that I marched, so I just went to Cesar Chavez Park to wait for the rest of the Occupiers and the planned Rally. At the rally, there were speakers and live music, G.P. Bailey was the opening musician. It took forever to get the power for the music, but it finally happened.

I was unable to stay for the entire rally as by this time I was pretty tired and had to go home.