25th Peace & Unity Parade Honors LB’s Community Activists

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Peace and Unity Parade CelebrationThe City of Long Beach, Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews, Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine and the Residents of Long Beach are pleased to announce the City of Long Beach 25th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Parade and Celebration, “Silver Anniversary”, on January 19, 2013.

This year’ parade Grand Marshals are the community leaders that have given whole-heartedly to the Long Beach community. “We are very fortunate to have individuals in our community that reach beyond the everyday challenges to include serving others in a way that uplifts the entire community. I consider these folks the cream of the crop because they have helped shape our neighborhoods”, said Councilman Dee Andrews. Honorees include: Councilmember Al Austin, Councilmember Steven Neal, Virgia Wade, Maria Norvell, Anthony Kim, Pat Vickers Bergendahl, Rachel Ysasaga Arriaga, and for the youth, Snoopy. Naomi Rainey was selected as this years Sojourner Truth Honoree.

The parade will start on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, intersecting Anaheim Street, Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 10:30 am. It will proceed North on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, turn right (East) on 19th Street, and turn left (North) on Lemon Avenue. Parade Parking is available at Long Beach City College, located at Orange Avenue and Pacific Coast Hwy. From the hours of 7:30 am to 10:00 am, at this same location, shuttle buses will be transporting participates and spectators to and from the parade route. For more information contact the Office of Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrew (562) 570-6816 or log on to www.longbeach.gov/district6.

About the honorees:

Councilmember Al Austin
Al Austin was elected in 2012 to the Long Beach City Council, representing the 8th District, which includes Bixby Knolls, Los Cerritos and North Long Beach.

Al is the chairperson of the I-710 Oversight Committee, and also serves on the Economic Development and Finance; Federal Legislation; and Housing and Neighborhoods committees.

A longtime Long Beach resident, Councilmember Austin began his career as an aerospace worker at McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, here in Long Beach. He was part of the team that fabricated parts for the C-17 Globemaster III. He later worked for the California State Legislature as a state senate aide. Most recently Al served as a professional staff representative for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, where he advocated for working families by protecting quality jobs and public services.

Al studied at Long Beach City College, and received a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of LaVerne.

Al and his wife, Daysha, have three sons.

Councilmember Steven Neal

Steven Neal was elected in 2010 to the Long Beach City Council to represent the Ninth Council District in North Long Beach.

Councilmember Neal has long been recognized as a community and labor leader within the Long Beach and greater Los Angeles area.

Lauded for his ability to work with diverse groups of people, Councilmember Neal has lead numerous efforts in the non-profit, labor and government sector to improve wages, healthcare, education and training programs for working families.

As a Long Beach City Councilmember, Steven Neal has focused on economic and social issues affecting families and neighborhoods. In his first term, he has an accomplished record supporting neighborhoods, small business, and working families as the author and creator of the Long Beach Foreclosure Registry Program, the Long Beach Liquor Store Modernization Program, and the North Long Beach Business Alliance.

Councilmember Neal is the Assistant Pastor of S.E.A.M. Faith Family Church in Chino. His desire to serve is deeply grounded in the belief that public service is more than a job, it is a responsibility.

Virgia Wade

Virgia Wade has been an outstanding Central Area community activist for over 30 years. She is one of our most dynamic volunteers in the Sixth District. She helped organize and marched with, Councilman Clarence Smith, in the City’s very first Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade…25 years ago! She has a long list of tremendous accomplishments and community involvement such as: a founding member of the Central Area Association, a founding member of Central Neighborhood Advisory Committee (CNAC), coordinate youth activities and neighborhood clean-ups, and founder and captain of the Lime Avenue Block Club which has won awards from the city.

Maria Norvell

Maria Norvell is a native of Long Beach and has lived in the Wrigley community for 41 years. She has been a volunteer in the community since 1986 and for the past 13 years has assisted with Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade & Celebration. For the hard work she has performed throughout the city, Maria has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions such as: Proclamation from Mayor Beverly O’Neill, Woman of the Year Award from Assemblymembers Jenny Oropeza and Bonnie Lowenthal; Gene Lentzner Human Relations Award from NCCJ and the Leadership Award from the NAACP. She is on numerous organization boards throughout Long Beach.

Anthony Kim

Commissioner Anthony Kim has been a strong community advocate in the City of Long Beach for several years. Commissioner Kim is very actively involved on the local community, State and Federal levels. He possesses leadership quality of the younger generation of Cambodian American. He serves on various boards and committees such as the Community Development Advisory Commission (CDAC), Cambodian American Business Association, Annual Cambodian New Year Parade, Cambodian Coordinating Council, Los Angeles County Cambodian Employees Association and the Khmer Arts Cultural Center Inc.

Pat Vickers Bergendahl

Pat is a native of Long Beach, California. She attended Jane Addams, Lindbergh, Jordan and LBSC. She has been married to her husband, Clyde Bergendahl for 55 years. She has been avid volunteer in our city for quite a number of years. She has served as part of the Long Beach Boulevard Task Force on The Redevelopment Central Project Area Committee and is a senior housing advocate. She currently serves on the Central Project Area Council, as well as, eight years on the Mayor’s Relocation & Appeals Board and another eight years on the Mayor’s Senior Citizen Commission as Chair of the Safety & Crime Prevention and Senior Housing programs. Pat has achieved incredible accomplishments, ranging from being part of the Long Beach West Department’s Leadership Forum to working with the Wrigley Neighborhood Association, Neighborhood Advisory Group, and other Central Long Beach organizations.

Rachel Ysasaga Arriaga

Mrs. Rachel Ysasaga Arriaga works at the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, serving at the Eastman Branch. She volunteers countless hours working to improve her community. She has volunteered with the Poly High School PTA and Butler Middle School PTA. She conducts monthly community cleanups throughout the 6th District. Rachel constantly volunteers with the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Celebration, Juneteenth Celebration and “Serving with a Thankful Heart” Thanksgiving Banquet at McBride Park. She also volunteered with Long Beach Weed and Seed Program and is actively involved in the Summer Night Lights Program. She started volunteering over twelve years ago in her neighborhood when other parents needed Spanish translation at school and community meetings.

Snoopy- Youth Grand Marshal

Snoopy is the world’s most beloved beagle and a permanent resident of Camp Snoopy at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. At Camp Snoopy you can meet all of Charles Schultz’s famous characters including Lucy, Linus, Sally and of course, Charlie Brown. Camp Snoopy was the first-ever theme park area dedicated solely to kids. With over 166 rides, shows and attractions in five themed areas, Knott’s Berry Farm has it all when it comes to family fun.

Naomi Rainey

Naomi Rainey symbolizes Sojourner Truth’s legendary phrase, “Ain’t I A Woman?”. Like Sojourner Truth, Naomi Rainey has spent bulk of her life helping people, especially women, of all colors. She is well-known as an educator, civil rights advocate, philanthropist, and entrepreneur and her contributions have been recognized and honored on the local, state, and national level. She has developed many educational, artistic, and special programs to motivate her entire community, from youth to adults to senior citizens. In 2012, as a thank you for all her work, Naomi Rainey received a very prestigious honor from California State University, Long Beach—the dorm she lived in while attending the university was renamed the “Naomi Rainey House”.

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