Blue Shield of California joined thousands of Angelenos on Monday, January 16, as the presenting sponsor of the 38th Annual Kingdom Day Parade to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The theme of this year’s parade was “Healing America and the World” to highlight the importance of individual and community well-being as part of Blue Shield’s commitment to address and correct health disparities.
Dozens of Blue Shield employees – including members of the Black Employee Network (B.E.N.) Employee Resource Group — participated along with many organizations and leaders who work tirelessly to invest in our communities and continue to keep Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of inclusion and civil rights alive. Coasting along the three-mile route on Blue Shield’s float are the words “Every you at the center of what we do,” proudly displaying its commitment to all Californians to stand for what’s right and work to provide equitable, accessible, and quality care for all.”
“Health equity and Blue Shield’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of everything we do,” said Jackie Ejuwa, vice president of Health Transformation at Blue Shield of California. “We understand that some Californians face barriers in accessing quality, affordable care options. To move the whole healthcare system forward, we apply a health equity lens in which everyone has a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”
Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality of California (CORE-CA), the parade is one of the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations in the country. CORE-CA, led by Dr. Adrian Dove, plays a critical role in civil rights history as the originator of the Freedom Rides and sit-ins of the 1940s and 1950s. Blue Shield of California has been a proud sponsor of CORE-CA’s Kingdom Day Parade for eight consecutive years.
This year’s parade was attended by many political officials, including the newly elected mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass.
At the pre-parade “kick-off” breakfast, Dr. Dove called for unity. And in her address to the crowd, Jackie Ejuwa noted that members of B.E.N. have unified with community-based organizations and colleagues to play an active role in their California communities. Additionally, Ejuwa noted that Blue Shield and its leaders acknowledge the importance of diversity and that when we capitalize on the strengths of everyone, empowering people, and promoting the human spirit, everyone wins.