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Houston’s 43rd Original MLK Parade will be virtual because of pandemic

During the two-hour online parade on Jan. 18, a separate “Parade of Giving” will be held to collect donations for families in need.

HOUSTON — Houston's Original MLK Parade will be virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-hour online celebration will showcase a variety of local entertainment, including:

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will be honored as grand marshals, in recognition of their “extraordinary leadership in these uncertain times,” organizers said. 

The 2021 theme is “Truth, Love and Justice,” a nod to the history of the organization and the country's current reckoning with racial issues.

“We need to get through these times and come together as a community to support one another first,” said Sylvester Brown, Executive Director of the Black Heritage Society. “Only then can we move to the work of building a more equitable world.”

VIDEO: 2020 MLK Day parades in Houston

The virtual experience will also include video from Houston’s first parade in 1978 and other historical footage.

The 1978 parade in Houston was the very first MLK Day Parade in the nation after being sanctioned by the King family.

While the traditional parade takes place online, the Parade of Giving will host a drive-thru donation drop-off site at MacGregor Park at 5225 Calhoun Rd.

They will collect blankets, water, baby diapers, baby wipes and other basic essentials to support Houstonians struggling during the pandemic. See full list here.

The donations will be distributed through two local nonprofits, the World Youth Foundation and St. John’s Downtown.

Both events will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, January 18. You can watch the parade at htvhouston.net and on Facebook on the Original MLK Day Parade page.

It can also be viewed on local TV at Comcast (Ch. 16), Phonoscope (Ch. 73 & 99), Suddenlink (Ch. 14), AT&T U-verse (Ch. 99).