MLK All the Way
Over 10,000 folks came out to manifest Dr. King's vision
By Kate X Messer, 2:45PM, Tue. Jan. 22
Progressives rubbed shoulders with more traditional churchy-types, and colors, faiths, and generations put differences aside as the sun shone brightly on Austin's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade and festival, all to honor the man who had a dream.
An estimated 10,000 people came together on MLK day, holding banners, blowing horns, lifting voices in song, populating community booths, jamming out to funk tunes, and enjoying a brilliant and crisp Austin day, which began at 9am at the University of Texas' MLK statue. Once amassed, the parade began, proceeding to the State Capitol building for some speechifying. The crowd then headed east for the festival held annually at Huston-Tillotson University.
Austin Chronicle photographer John Anderson kept apace and captured in a photo gallery the spirit Dr. King's dream.
The fest boasted the requisite funnel cake and BBQ booths, along with reps from myriad local causes and community groups, from churches to labor unions, anti-war and anti-death penalty activists, to schools and cookie-bearing Girl Scouts. This coming-together seemed to echo another coalescence – that the celebration fell on the same day as the second inauguration of America's first African-American president.
"It was one of those once in a million years events, a harmonic convergence," chirped Dr. Carol Adams-Means, Associate Professor of Communication at H-T University and one of the many H-T staff involved in the Austin Area Heritage Council's annual MLK Celebration. "Look, we've come full circle, from a man like MLK, who had to break the chains and challenge the status quo to a country that has shown its conviction in reelecting Obama. America wants the world to know it's ready for change.
"There must be change agents at these increments of history," continued Adams-Means. "A person who helps society advance. Let's put it this way: A pearl doesn't happen if it doesn't have an irritant in the shell!"