The 27th All Peoples Celebration hosted by Alliance San Diego took place in Balboa Park Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and recognized the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
The celebration was held at the Balboa Park Activity Center and featured music, food and guest speakers.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund litigator Ryan Haygood was the featured speaker for the event.
He emphasized the importance of exercising the right to vote and advancing democracy through finding ways to be more fairly represented in areas that matter most.
"In many communities across this country and here in San Diego, there's suffering from a host of socioeconomic challenges, sub standard housing, education, employment, issues with the criminal justice system," Haygood said. "...And Dr. King was clear that if you want to change the conditions under which you live, you have to vote."
Haygood said democracy requires maintenance and voting without the effort of the people will not advance itself.
"What we're doing here today...is rededicating ourselves to those principles," he told NBC 7.
Other events honoring Monday's holiday took place throughout the county and included interfaith community service efforts and musical performances in places such as Balboa Park and Carlsbad.
The World Beat Center in Balboa Park hosted a celebration with live music and food from the OneWorld Cafe.
Christ Presbyterian Church in Carlsbad joined people of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths for the "Interfaith and Action: A Day of Bridge Building and Good Deeds" where they worked together to make hygiene kits for families in need and special kits for veterans.
Another group of diverse faiths joined together in Balboa Park Monday to clear brush, clean flower beds and plant trees before enjoying lunch and live music.
Sponsored by nine churches and congregations of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Unitarian and Hindu faiths, the National Day of Service in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. was not the first of its kind. Last year, more than 500 people showed up to lend a hand.
Dr. King was a Baptist minister and civil rights activist with a major impact on the country during the civil rights movement. He played a vital role in the cessation of segregation and the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.
King was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, then assassinated in 1968. He is still celebrated as one of the most influential African-American leaders in history.