Section 14 Survivors to Commemorate Martin Luther King Jr, with March, Interfaith Service on King Day

PALM SPRINGS — On Monday, Jan. 15, Palm Springs Section 14 Survivors will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and commemorate Dr. King’s legacy with a public tribute to the Civil Rights icon, including a rally, a symbolic march, and an interfaith service featuring a gospel tribute by legendary singer Diana Ross. This event comes amid the group’s latest efforts to raise awareness about their ongoing pursuit for long-overdue restorative justice.

The Section 14 area, just east of Downtown Palm Springs, was once a neighborhood of Black and Latino families who were homeowners. The families of Section 14, despite owning homes and being members of a thriving community, were forcibly displaced by the City of Palm Springs when city officials realized how lucrative it could be to develop the area for luxury tourism. Now, the neighborhood is the home of spas, a convention center, and luxury hotels – but the previous residents’ homes were set aflame and bulldozed by the City of Palm Springs. At the height of the Section 14 community, it had more than 5,000 residents.

This event will be the only commemoration of its kind in Palm Springs, and will include interfaith clergy members:

  • Rev. Dan Kline and Rev. Jessie Thompson, Church of St. Paul in the Desert, Palm Springs
  • Rabbi David Lazar, Or Hamidbar – Light of the Desert, Palm Springs
  • Pastor Carmen Jhaye, University Baptist Church, Palm Desert
  • Bishop Craig Worsham, Agape Church of Los Angeles
  • Pastor Steven Shepard, St. Paul AME San Bernardino

It is being produced in collaboration with the Stonewall Democrats of the Desert, Brothers of the Desert, Special Needs Network, Inc., Community Build, Palm Springs Black History Committee, Desert Highland Gateway Community Action Association, and the Los Angeles Urban League.

Events schedule

  • 11 a.m. Unity Rally, doors open to press at 10:30 a.m., Frances Stevens Park, 555 N. Palm Canyon Drive
  • 11:30 AM – Symbolic March to United Methodist Church of Palm Springs, March from Frances Stevens Park to United Methodist Church of Palm Springs (the march will span a distance of approximately 1 mile)
  • 12:30 PM – Interfaith Service, United Methodist Church of Palm Springs, 1555 East Alejo Road

Palm Springs Section 14 Survivors is a non-profit group deeply rooted in the history and legacy of Palm Springs, composed of more than 1,000 survivors and descendants of Palm Springs Section 14.

Section 14, a one-square-mile area just east of downtown Palm Springs, was a vibrant community of predominantly African American and Latino residents. From the late 1950s through the 1960s, the city of Palm Springs, seeking commercial development, demolished this thriving community, destroying homes, personal property, and belongings without warning.

This destruction led to significant economic, physical, and emotional trauma for the residents of Section 14 and their descendants, who have not been able to recover the generational wealth that was taken from them. The survivors and descendants, with the support and counsel of leading civil rights attorney Areva Martin, continue to seek justice and restitution. Their mission transcends monetary compensation, it is a quest for acknowledgement of the past, communal healing, and the establishment of restorative measures that ensure such injustices are never repeated.

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Image Sources

  • Martin Luther King Jr.: Pixaby