BARSTOW • Preschoolers have made the half-mile trek up Barstow Road to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s sacrifice before, but it was the first year 4-year-olds Aubree Romero, Caliana Chaco and Victor Sarabia and their parents marched up the hill.
"They asked us to do it," said Jennifer Romero, Aubree's mother. "They said we're going to celebrate (King's) birthday."
Saturday's peace march was the culmination of a week of learning for Aubree, Caliana and Victor, members of Loretta Carruthers' Tot Time class. Aubree, Caliana and Victor and about 13 others hiked their little legs up Barstow Road holding a banner wishing a happy birthday to King.
Tot Time preschoolers have participated in the march since 2006, Carruthers said. All week long they remember King's legacy in song, arts and crafts and at the end of the week they hold a birthday celebration. Caliana and her friends also know that King died during his struggle.
"His eyes were color blind," Carruthers said. "We talked about that a lot. It's little clips that will stay with a four-year-old forever."
The Barstow Arts and Industrial Women's and Men's Club have held a peace march to remember the Civil Rights Movement since 2000. Club president Mary L. Hailey was young when King died, but she said she know her parents, aunts and uncles had talked about it.
Hailey, who has made the march since its inception, said her aunt, Clara Jefferson, co-founded it with former mayor Katy Yslas-Yent and Rita Jackson. Participants trek up hill to symbolize King's struggle, Hailey said. The community will further honor King at the club's Peace Breakfast Monday.
"Dr. Martin Luther King did it for all races," she said. "Going up that hill is a big struggle, but it shows we can do that peacefully."
The Tot Time preschoolers trekked up the hill with 30 to 40 Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. The scouts have marched since its inception, said troop leader Elaine Lambert. Participating in the march encourages the scouts to support their community.
For Emily Lambert, a cadet scout, and Codi Zableckis, a junior scout, King's birthday means an end to segregation.
"Martin Luther King had a dream and told everyone that blacks and whites can coexist," Codi said.
Monday's breakfast begins at 8 a.m. at Sizzler at 1523 East Main Street. The guest speaker will be Reverend Ray L. Dixon of the Union Missionary Baptist Church. Tickets are $17 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under.
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