The City of Inglewood began its Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations two days before the national holiday on Jan. 20th on a blue sky Saturday morning than began Faithful Central Bible Church and resumed for more than 8 hours downtown on Market Street.
Capturing the essence of it all was ABC7 Inglewood reporter Ashley Mackey, a native of the city, serving as one of three grand marshals along with actor Asante Blackk and former Morningside High School and Los Angeles Lakers basketball great Byron Scott for the 37th annual event that engulfed the city.
After speaking at the opening ceremonies, then taking a ride in the parade, Mackey came down to Market Street for yet another presentation on the KJLH Stage and had enough energy to continue for even more.
Wearing her customary royal blue dress with her gold ABC7 pin attached just above her heart, she gleamed from ear to ear as she stopped to pause and reflect on the occasion and its prominent location.
“To be recognized at an event that honors Martin Luther King Jr. is an added honor because it’s in my home town, a city that I love and continue to call home,” Mackey explained to Inglewood Today.
Although her family moved to Riverside where she attended high school, she did attend St John Chrysostom Catholic School in the city.
The Community Journalist for ABC7 Eyewitness News earned her master’s degree in sports journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Montana.
Mackey has earned awards in journalism such as the project Robert F. Kennedy Award, an Edward R. Murrow award, a BEA award and an EPPY award.
As an African American in a field that is dominated by whites, her presence for a major network speaks volumes to her talent and ability garner the respect of hierarchy in the industry.
“It’s a great statement (for ABC7) for me to be placed in Inglewood and it means the company is trying to be more inclusive of people from the community that it represents,” she added.
Her message to many young people who are inspired by her is a rather simple one.
“Stay young, by that I mean there is so much to learn in life so take advantage of it.”
There was something for everyone who attended the festivities that closed off Market Street from Florence Ave. to Hillcrest Blvd.
Among the bustling of booths were the tasty pleasantries of the food trucks, which included lobster, burgers, snow cones and natural flavored popsicles, awards presentations by Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. and First District Councilman
“I was on the planning commission for the City of Inglewood for 25 years and this is what we really dreamed about,” stated Councilman Dotson.
He continued, “I always dreamed about the city that we have since become, we are so popular now that it’s much easer to get (the parade) off the ground. I am so grateful to be a part of it.”