On Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy was honoured across North Texas with parades in Grand Prairie, Fort Worth and Dallas.
In Dallas, the 38th annual MLK Day March and Parade started at 10 a.m. with floats, marching bands and dance troops. The route ran from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Holmes Street down to Fair Park.
In Grand Prairie, the parade kicked off at 10 a.m., starting at City Hall on Main Street.
In Fort Worth, the parade started at 11 a.m. at Ninth and Commerce streets with marching bands and floats.
“Just people coming together, you know, having a good time,” Donald Bailey said as he watched the parade in downtown Fort Worth. “It shows that we all are not really the same, but we’re all people, and that we need to just love each other for who we are.”
Melissa Marrufo said as she pointed to her young son, “he was talking about it this morning in school, that we might look different on the outside, but we’re the exact same on the inside.”
But leading up to Monday’s parades, some young minds came together in Dallas to spread Dr. King’s message.
Young people from across Dallas used their words to honour his legacy as part of the 28th annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition.
In a defining moment of his career, Dr. King gave the “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Dr. King called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend,” said Kyla Combs, a 4th grade student at Charles Rice Learning Centre. “He wanted equality and love for everyone.”
This year’s topic is “What would Dr. King’s vision for America be in 2020?” The students had to present their speeches in front of several judges, including Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys and Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said James Johnson III of Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary school. “The future is made by those in the past who are willing to shape it. I am the future and the future begins with me and you.”
The students not only commemorated Dr. king’s iconic speech but illustrated how his works continue to affect their lives and inspire their perspectives.
“Dr. Martin Luther King would see that inequality is still happening. He would see that America is slowly losing it’s unity. After seeing what we are going through, Dr. King would remember saying, ‘Use me God – show me how to take who I am, who I want to be and what I can do and use it for a purpose greater than myself,” said Ayanna Gee, a 5th grade student at John Neely Bryan Elementary School.
The oratory competition winner was Colin Harris, a 5th grader at J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard.
“He’s still alive in us. We’re still trying to work to make the world a better place. And this year, I’m not just doing it for academics, I want to help the people who are dealing with world trouble,” he told NBC 5 in an interview before his speech presentation.
“We have to make this world a better place and we’ve got to work hard for it no matter how long it takes, how painful it might be or boring it might be to people. It’s for the greater good,” he said. “We’re here not just to compete but also to carry the message around the world. Dr. MLK’s goal and his death will not be for nothing.”
Runners up in the Dr. Martin Luther King oratory Competition were Jasira King of William Brown Miller Elementary and Dominic Patermo of Harry C. Withers Elementary.