A Liberty City tradition made its return Monday, as the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade rolled west on 54th Street.
The celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy goes beyond floats and marching bands. It makes people think about the man who’s being celebrated.
“Just Martin Luther King Day in general just means that this is a day of service for everyone, a day that we come together at least one day out of the year and be one united people amongst everyone,” said Rodney Harris, the mayor of Miami Gardens.
“Whether you care about humanity, whether you care about the good fight, there’s something we all could take from Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and apply it to our own life,” said parade watcher Aundray Adams.
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Dr. King spent his short life fighting against poverty, against bigotry, and for equality, especially for the right to vote.
“I would think he would say we still got a long way to go to get everything right,” said spectator Patrice Shaw.
Many would say voting rights are under assault in this country. I asked Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine-Cava what she thought Dr. King would say about that issue.
“My heart is heavy today as so many are trying to roll back the gains that we’ve made for equality in this country,” Levine Cava replied. “So many trying to prevent us from even talking about the past, I think Dr. King would see that we’ve made progress but he would be very worried about the incredible pressure to undermine the progress we’ve made.”
The parade can also be an educational tool.
“Teaching the younger generation to appreciate the hard work that our forefathers did before us,” said parade watcher Sharon Pompey.
I asked her if she thinks the younger generation gets it.
“No, I don’t, I don’t but we as the older generation, we cannot stop teaching,” Pompey replied.
Niya Shaw seems willing to learn. She turned 15 today.
“It’s a very great experience to share a day with Martin Luther King because he was a great leader and he was a great person to our people,” Niya said.