Lompoc’s multicultural community came together to celebrate their heritages while respecting common themes that bring them all together on Monday, in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Our first day into this community we happened to be on East Ocean Drive, coming into town, and we needed to stop for gas and the gas station there said no blacks and no dogs. So we’ve seen where this community has come from over these years,” says Bill Johnson, Pastor of St. Phillip African Episcopal Church.
The African American community was represented in spoken word, dancing and puppetry, with performances from the local Native American and Mexican community as well.
“I think it’s important to show and be proud of where you came from and what your roots are and martin luther king, it’s like don’t be ashamed no matter what the color of your skin is,” explains Samantha Uribe, a performer at the event.
But many minorities still face discrimination; Doni Jo Munro says Native Americans like herself are still fighting for equality to this day.
“We’re the only people that are counted by their blood degree – only dogs, horses and Indians are counted by their degree of blood they are that validates them to be an Indian,” Munro says.
Experiences like this make some people to want to grow organizations like the NAACP in bigger numbers on the Central Coast.
“Personally I think there should be a branch in every city – because people have complaints sometimes they’re minor, sometimes they’re major but people have complaints and they need someone to talk to make sure they’re getting fair treatment,” explains President of the Santa Maria-Lompoc Chapter of the NAACP, Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt.
While these groups may look different on the outside, they believe what’s on the inside is what counts the most.
“We need to know each other – it’s a community not diversified segments,” Johnson says.
More than 100 people came out in support of this MLK celebration Monday, showing that while we might not have fulfilled the dream – we’re certainly getting closer.