Tulsa Honors Martin Luther King Jr. With Parade
TULSA, Oklahoma - The country pauses on Monday to honor the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
The 38th annual MLK parade made its way through the streets of Greenwood and downtown Tulsa Monday, January 16. Hundreds of people lined the streets.
Spectator Brandy White said, "For the excitement, of course, and to see everyone come together. But I think it's a great thing to do every year."
Tulsa's MLK parade is the second largest in the country. About 250 floats were in the parade with countless participants. The theme this year is "Love Conquers Hate."
They say that message illustrates what Dr. Martin Luther King stood for. Organizers pulled the message from a speech King once gave where he said "I've decided to stick with love because hate is too big of a burden to bear."
It's a message everyone can take with them considering the climate of America right now.
"I think people need to start loving one another, start caring for one another, and then be concerned for your neighbor," said spectator Kay Robbins.
They said the message is always relevant, but especially since 2016 saw racial tension in Tulsa and other cities, and even violence in parts of the country.
"Today every body you run into - they are hugging and high fiving," said NAACP President Pleas Thompson. "But we want that to be 365 days a year. And we're trying to plan more and more activities to have the same excitement that we have everyday."
Inclusivity, along with the message of love, is a huge part of the parade.
Robbins said just looking around at all the different faces and seeing them peacefully come together, despite so much tragedy nationally and locally, shows love truly does conquer hate.
"People are starting to car for one another than they ever have before, and I'm glad to be able to see it," Robbins said.
Parade organizers honored the late Sergeant Marvin Blades who died in October. The former TPD and longtime TPS officer spent a lot of time mentoring young people. His family served as the grand marshals.
Multiple events over the last few days led of to the big parade today. With 250 floats, the parade took about two hours and ended at Archer and Elgin.
The annual Founders Breakfast was held from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday, January 16, at 1414 N. Greenwood Avenue. The breakfast was hosted by First Baptist Church of North Tulsa.
A group of about 50 people marched near downtown Tulsa Sunday for a "Love Conquers Hate" Peace Walk. It was followed by a commemorative interfaith church service.