On January 19th, 2014, Martin Luther King smiled upon the step that 8 individuals took in attempt to fulfill his dream. Pasadena artist Bing Bing led 7 people on a 21-mile trek through some of the nation's most treacherous neighborhoods to End Gang Violence by demonstrating non-violent, positive ways to make change in society as Dr. King did. Those who joined the march were C.O Chosen One, Otto Evans of DenaBoy, Tammy, Cracka Smile, Shine Briduh, OG Porterhouse, Matt Rinnegan of Rhyme Disciples, and Bing Bing.
The "Unity Now" team, as the group calls themself, began at the very popular Pink's hot dog stand on Melrose & La Brea in West Hollywood and were headed to El Camino College Compton Center where the march would end. ABC7 Eyewitness news came out and interviewed Bing Bing and the crew only to find out that it did not get aired that day. KTLA returned an inquiry call to us and said that they could cover us live at their 6p news. It never happened.
The group gathered in a circle in front of Pink's and held hands in prayer before they embarked on their monumental mission. Along the way, the Unity Now team found cardboard and made signs to display while they walk. As cars honked in support of the diversely ethnic group, it was still a challenging task. 21 miles is a pretty long distance. "I'm proud of each & every one of us who volunteered their time & efforts to see this through," explains a proud Bing Bing. "We were troopers out there." Bing Bing says he has various reasons for doing this. This march was inspired through the Pasadena Music Scene's Bringing It Together movement when a roadblock was reached upon trying to unite artists (in which some are gang members) on the local music scene. And what better cause for this than in remembrance of Martin Luther King, who put his life on the line for the sake of the diverse minority in America.
The Unity Now team busted out roughly 4 miles down Crenshaw from Olympic to Slauson. It turned out to be one of the biggest stretches along the route. When they came across Crenshaw and the 10 Freeway, they saw a homeless lady in a wheelchair and felt the need to give her a donation and take a picture. When the group reached Martin Luther King BL and Crenshaw, they made a statement on video explaining what they were doing and where they were going. Halfway through, the Unity Now team crossed paths with a Widow and her children and a distant relative of MLK, Drenda King. The Unity Now team assisted the women with carrying their things as they walked & talked about the mission at hand. "This is truly an unforgettable moment," says C.O Chosen One, who at that point was just happy to be a part of the movement.
"I must admit, this mission was far more intense than the 27-mile walk I did back in October 2013," says Bing Bing, who goes on to talk about the needed patience, vigilance, & endurance he had to exercise to properly lead the other 7 people. The event was completely funded by Bing Bing, however, each individual who was a part made significant contributions to the success of the mission. "We're walking for the cause," says Otto Evans. "Just for today, Peace be still. We are walking to End Gang Violence for the next generation."
Now when the Unity Now team reached Watts, they took the Wilmington route South. As the group walked in a single file line, a big boom goes off across the street, instantly sending the group into panic. Seconds after, Bing Bing looked across the street and seen no imminent danger. As 6 of the other individuals he was leading ran back, Bing Bing continued forward to complete the mission. C.O Chosen One was the only person who continued with Bing Bing to finish the march. "It was a good walk despite the gunshot that went off," says Cracka Smile. Bing Bing didn't believe it was a gunshot that went off. He doesn't believe it was anything more than a M80 or car backfiring. "It was just too loud to be a gunshot," Bing Bing explains on facebook the day after the event. "Nonetheless, I am still proud of all of us for doing this. OG Porterhouse brought some of his belongings with him on the march. Little did most acknowledge, that was a pretty cool thing."
After the event, Bing Bing says he probably won't be doing anything this intense after the marathon is over on March 9th. A significant portion of the route was residential backstreets. A fleet of Lowriders drove by and honked in support of the Unity Now team as they pushed down Western ave. People respected what they were doing. When they reached Manchester, a couple of guys said, "You going the wrong way with them signs." If anything, it only had a positive effect on the Unity Now team as they continued to press on.
"What an admiral & interesting way to spend your birthday," says a supporter of the Pasadena Music Scene's Bringing It Together movement. "Bing Bing spent his birthday walking for the cause of others. And he really set it up that way."
"A lot of people saw us that day. All major news networks were well-informed regarding the matter. I hope it gave people a reason to stop & think about the practical changes we need to recognize & make in order to live a better tomorrow," says Bing Bing. "The time to take action is now."