Thousands of people from around Tarrant County gathered downtown Monday morning not just to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy but to pledge to work together in his spirit.
“I love seeing all nationalities out here together for a good time,” said Misty Tate of Fort Worth.
Diverse groups of children and adults marched and drove through downtown streets in the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Rally. Many local high school marching bands entertained, along with church groups, junior cadet corps, organizations and local officials and candidates.
“It represented the diversity of the people who live here,” said Robert Bade of Cleburne.
The hourlong event honors the slain civil-rights leader on his birthday each year, but in a time of social unrest leading up to Donald Trump‘s inauguration on Friday, MLK Day felt different than in years past, Tate said.
“I took off work today. I thought, ‘I have to go to the parade, with all that’s going on these days,’ ” Tate said. “I feel more love this year. And peace.”
The parade, organized by the Greater Fort Worth Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee, began near the Fort Worth Convention Center and worked its way through downtown to Sundance Square Plaza, which was packed for the rally after the parade.
“This is a tremendous day to celebrate our diversity,” Mayor Betsy Price told the crowd, adding that if the city works together in the spirit of King, “we will come together to better our community.”
King visited Fort Worth in 1959, giving a speech downtown and staying at a still-standing house on the mostly vacant Stewart Street.