Houston's Original MLK Day Parade goes virtual for 2021

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The pandemic isn't stopping organizers of Houston's Original MLK Day Parade from proceeding, but it will be much different from years' past.

The Black Heritage Society will still hold the annual parade on Jan. 18, but it will be online and on social media this year, according to a call for entries.

"This year, the "Original" Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade will look a little different due to the pandemic, but we are prepared to unite all Houstonians in celebration of Dr. King's life and legacy," mayor Sylvester Turner said in December. "The virtual experience will allow us to reach more people in Houston and across the nation. I encourage organizations to submit their creative entries to help maintain the tradition of celebrating with a parade."

The group is asking participants to register online and submit a video entry for the event, which will also include a push to give back to the community through a planned donation drop-off.

"The Black Heritage Society is hosting a parade of giving to support to Houstonians who've been significantly impacted by the pandemic and are in need of basic life essentials," organizers said in a statement.

The donation drop-off site is planned for MacGregor Park on Calhoun Road as the parade rolls virtually from 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 18.

"The 2021 theme is Truth, Love and Justice, which I think is fitting given the history of the organization and the country's current reckoning with race and systemic oppression," said Sylvester Brown, executive director of the Black Heritage Society. "We want to inspire viewers to be change agents and do their part to contribute to a more equitable world, especially during these difficult times."

Last year, Houston native and two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman served as Grand Marshal. The 2021 grand marshal is expected to be announced later this month.

To register as a participant in the 2021 parade, go to originalmlkparade.org.

From 2015: Houston celebrates MLK Day with two competing parades
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