Mayor Turner: City will support Black Heritage Society as official MLK Jr. Day parade in Houston

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Friday, July 13, 2018
Mayor Turner names city's official MLK Jr. Day parade in Houston
After years of multiple parades honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. across Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner has backed one.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After years of multiple parades honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. across Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced which parade the city will officially support.

"Today I announce my support for the parade presented by the Black Heritage Society. A house divided against itself cannot stand," Turner said.

He added that the city should only have one, unified annual parade to honor Dr. King's legacy.

"I hope this parade represents Houston's diversity," Turner added.

Turner said many Houstonians have opted out of attending any parade because of the "separation" on a day where everyone should be together.

For years, both the MLK Grande Parade in midtown Houston and Black Heritage Society's parade have welcomed hundreds to celebrate the holiday.

The mayor and other city leaders saying this is not what Dr. King would have wanted to see.

"It was an act of courage that (the mayor) decided to begin to try to pull these two MLK Day celebrations together and I was very proud of him," said Rev. William Lawson.

The date for Black Heritage Society's parade has been set for Monday, January 21, 2019, in front of Minute Maid Park.

"We're excited. We are glad," said Sylvester Brown, Executive Director of Black Heritage Society.

But after talking to Charles Stamps, CEO of the MLK Grande Parade, he said they were still negotiating.

In a statement he said:

"The parade's theme "It Takes A Village" will articulate and emphasize our strengths through diversity. We have constructed a working framework for the unification of the MLK parades in Houston. Our organization's legal team are presently looking into whether government has any role other than support for any expressive activity (First Amendment U.S. Constitution), and the validity and authenticity of the supposedly licensing agreement that is in possession of the other parade. Once we have clarity on those two components, we will move (forward) with the unification framework that has been a work in progress for more than three years. Finally, the mayor has expressed an extension of financial and other resources to the Black Heritage Society that has already been in place for more than six years."