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The 32nd annual parade and rally in El Cerrito for the Dr. Martin L. King Jr. holiday on Monday will return to its roots.

The celebration originated in 1989 without the blessing of the City Council and was held without official approval in its earliest years. The city ultimately became a major supporter and sponsor, but had to withdraw financial backing this year due to a major municipal budget shortfall.

Even so, and even with the restraints imposed by COVID-19 regulations, this year’s event is “going to be one of the best parades ever,” said Patricia Durham, one of the founders and organizers of the celebration.

The need for social distancing has nixed the traditional walking parade from El Cerrito City Hall to El Cerrito High School. Celebrants will instead form a car caravan that will go from the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station to the El Cerrito Plaza station.

The caravan will begin gathering at 9 a.m. and the parade will start at 10 a.m.

A stage at the El Cerrito Plaza station parking lot will feature speakers, live music and entertainment. The keynote speaker will be Rev. Willie McDaniel, the pastor of St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in El Cerrito and the new president of the El Cerrito branch of the NAACP.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Expanding the dream towards global peace — a call to humanity” and as always, everyone in the greater community is welcome to participate.

More information is available on the city’s website.