Locals speak on significance of VP-elect Kamala Harris making history just hours after MLK Day

Judith Green couldn’t be happier. 

"We have a black female VP coming on Wednesday... we’re living the dream right now..." she tells me over a Zoom call.

Her 16-year-old daughter Kiana sitting by her side.

The two do feel like they are dreaming. History is about to be made in Washington, D.C. in the same week we honor the history of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with an annual day of service.

King, assassinated 53 years ago, talked a lot about racism, injustice and inequality.

This year’s local events - many virtual because of the pandemic - were held all over the Southland. There was one in the City of Long Beach. Another, sponsored by the City of LA and the Walt Disney Company. Both designed to discuss the meaning of this day of service and more to the community.

In South LA, there was a "read and feed drive-thru" to provide free books to some 1,500 families. In Pasadena, Tournament of Roses volunteers were loading up boxes of books for a multi-week project giving 10,000 books to Pasadena area nonprofits.

And, among a plethora of things, there was also a caravan-demonstration to demand an end to police brutality, attacks on immigrants and racism overall. All on the eve of Kamala Harris making history just like Dr. King made history.

"If only he was here today to see Kamala Harris make it this far," says Judith’s daughter Kiana Brown. Both mom and daughter admire Harris and King. Together, they’ve protested. Together, they both want to make a positive impact. Mom works for LA County in public information. Both credit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for many of their feelings.

Says Kiana, "I think he really paved the way for equality and made people look at racism differently."

But, as our conversation turned to Racism in 2021, Kiana got a bit emotional.

"I definitely see racism today and it's hard but... racism," she said with a pause.

Kiana’s Mom notices her daughter is starting to get emotional.

She says, "The mere fact that this conversation is making her emotional means we have a lot of work to do. And, sitting here seeing her get emotional talking about racism ... I don’t want anyone to treat my daughter differently because of the color of her skin."

As she said that this reporter recalled these words from Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech: "I have a dream 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."

Meanwhile, Green went on to say, "I’m just hopeful. Today is MLK day. We’re celebrating a man’s legacy who had a different vision for us so it’s coming to life Kiana. Things are going to get better."

Final words from Judith Green. Quoting Gandhi, "Be the change you want to see in the world!"

She tells her daughter, "so if you’re a good person with a good heart people will follow suit just like the same way MLK did. We’ve come so far and we’ve got a long way to go. The point is we’re making progress."

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