Thousands of people lined the streets of Kalakaua Avenue for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade Monday.
Jita Riverta wakes up every morning for prayer service at the Hare Krishna temple. But on Monday Riverta spread his message during the Martin Luther King Jr. parade. It is a message Riverta says mirrors King's.
“Martin Luther King – he had a vision and the only way to have it fulfilled is to understand that everything belongs to God,” said Riverta.
Thousands at the parade heard Riverta’s message, along with the words of other speakers.
“It gives everyone a taste of what his legacy [was], and what it should be and what he stood for,” said Marilyn Trussoni.
Spectators watched more than 80 floats and groups leave Magic Island for their march through Waikiki, ending at Kapiolani Park.
"I think it’s a really, really good parade. I like to see all these different nationalities out here -- what Martin Luther King stood for. It’s all about the character of the person, not the color of the person,” said Whitney Dawkins.
Groups participating in the parade included Iskcon Hawaii, the Royal Hawaiian Band, local fraternities and Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Grand marshals Byron Rushing and Frieda Garcia from Boston say the groups marching would have made King proud.
"The people of Hawaii seem to be honoring what he saw as so unique about Hawaii,” said Rushing. “He saw it as a model of what the mainland should be.”
“His holiday enables us to focus on what has happened [and] the successes we have had,” said Garcia.
Successes that were once dreams for King are now a reality for the people of Hawaii. King visited the islands in 1959 and addressed the Hawaii House of Representatives.
The civil rights leader was assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39. He would have turned 85 years old on Jan. 15.