HOUSTON – The community honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with two parades Monday with one marching through downtown and the other in Midtown.
“We just like the way it (the parade) feels and what Martin Luther King stood for,” Anthony Gibson, who attended the downtown parade said.
Many turned out for the parades to celebrate King’s dream of unity.
“For the first time we were trying to give our 5-year-old at least an understanding of who Martin Luther King is in the fabric of our society,” Will Worsham, who attended the Midtown celebration, said.
“We have people of all nationalities,” Janet Francis said. “We are all about love.”
But every January in Houston on MLK’s holiday, parades in his honor separate. Organizers split years ago.
“It’s unfortunate because people can’t understand that and it hurts me as a person,” Janet Francis said.
Judging by the smiles seen Monday, it didn’t hurt everyone as families crowded both parades.
With two parades, organizers think it’s a way to give more people opportunity to celebrate.
Still, Vanessa Rhodes gets emotional over MLK Day. “When I saw it on the news this morning, it brought tears to my eyes,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes is fighting lupus, a disease attacking her brain and kidneys, but is more tired of seeing crime and conflict in her community.
The parades offer her an escape.
“I see how everybody shares the joy. It’s compassion. Everybody makes their way to the parades - to come out here. I want to be a part of it,” Rhodes said.