San Francisco Mayor Breed, Rep. Pelosi join hundreds at MLK Day march

Hundreds of people gathered Monday in San Francisco to march a mile-long route to honor the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as his legacy of nonviolent protests against racial and economic injustices.

Beginning at the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets, marchers walked across the Lefty O’Doul Bridge to commemorate Bloody Sunday, the March 7, 1965 protest when civil rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama were beaten by police. Monday’s march was scheduled to end at Yerba Buena Gardens, where faith leaders planned to speak on King’s message and call on participants to reflect on his vision of equality.

San Francisco city workers are expected to take part and demand an end to racism within city departments and policies that contribute to displacement of black residents in San Francisco.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed addressed the crowd gathered at Yerba Buena Gardens with a message outlining her priorities for the city.

“We know here in San Francisco there are serious challenges with helping our homeless community. There are serious challenges with people who struggle from mental health and substance use disorder. We need to build more housing because housing is completely unaffordable in the Bay Area,” she said. “We have to do more.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, spoke at the interfaith ceremony and encouraged people to follow King’s example by working on the ground and giving back. She also mentioned a bill working its way through the House that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as well as legislation to combat voter suppression.

“Dr. King challenges us in so many ways, by demonstrating his values but also challenging us to act in time,” Pelosi said. “We must all be committed to making sure that the arc of justice that he talked about bends more rapidly than some other people may expect.”

A commemorative train ride from San Jose to San Francisco carries hundreds of people who take part in the annual march.

The demonstration is part of a four-day celebration of King’s ideals in San Francisco that will include lectures, music and film and arts festivals.

Ashley McBride is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @ashleynmcb

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