GRASS VALLEY -- Several hundred residents of Nevada County made a statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, participating in a walk they say is about justice and tolerance, not hate.
It was a message that came from a community not usually known for its diversity.
It was an extension of the public outrage over an incident that happened to longtime Grass Valley resident Jamal Walker’s son. The Walkers are one of the few black families who live in the area.
A year ago, Walker's then 16-year-old son was followed by a group of white teens in an automobile. For two blocks they cursed at him and used racial slurs.
A Facebook post by Walker resulted in a spontaneous walk that drew over a thousand people.
In an effort to keep the momentum going, Walker and local supporters, including Creating Communities Without Bias, sponsored what they dubbed Love Walk 2.
Inspirational talks and music centered around diversity, acceptance and love. Several hundred participants gathered on the street where Walker’s son was harassed and made the short walk to the Elk’s Lodge where there were day-long activities like films, talks and entertainment.
Walker broke down several times while addressing the crowd from a podium.
“What we lack in diversity we gain in a lot of love," he said. "There are a lot of wonderful people here that want to show their unity and show their love for others."
With the support of city officials, attendees hope to make the Love Walk a yearly event.