Houstonians honor Martin Luther King Jr. via parades, volunteering

Martin Luther King Day wasn't just about having fun at a parade. For many, it was about executing his message to help others
January 20, 2014 2:37:11 PM PST
Thousands of people packed the streets of downtown this holiday. Their main purpose -- to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a parade.

The Black Heritage Society has been producing the annual "Original MLK Parade" now for 36 years.

Organizers say this year's theme was "Welcoming the Spirit of Dr. King." The floats and participants paid a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many of the participants used performances and posters reminding the community of the past civil rights struggles.

They also reminded the large crowd about current social issues including unemployment, mass incarceration and gender equality. Many parents we talked to say they make it a point to bring their children here to remind them of the continuing efforts for civil rights.

Parade spectator Julian Haigood said, "The kids want to learn about the generation from today. It's all about learning and experience, gaining freedom and gaining good society within our community. That's what I them to take from this."

The parade circled downtown and ended at Discovery Green.

The 20th annual MLK Grande Paradealso was held Monday morning. That parade route began near Houston Community College on San Jacinto.

If you went to either parade today, we'd love to see your photos! Email them to us at news@abc13.com.

In addition to parades, many folks spent this holiday participating in community service projects.

Instead of a traditional church service, about 200 members of Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church spent time painting around salvation army and providing free haircuts to seniors, among other acts of service. The members say MLK Day is a reminder that every day is an opportunity to volunteer your time.

"For the last 20 years or so, we've been doing Martin Luther King Programs where we've had speeches,, and preachers and singing. I thought that this year would be a fine time for us to get out into the community and put our hands on some stuff," Rev. Terry Anderson said.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says a statue of Dr. King will be unveiled at MacGregor Park in April.

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