On Monday afternoon, the community of Athens gathered for the 7th Annual MLK Day Parade and Music Festival.
Hosted by the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and the United Group of Artists, the event celebrates the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. with a celebration featuring live music, food trucks and other vendors. rice field.
The parade, which began at the corner of Hull and Washington streets, was a fun and meaningful way to spend the holidays with the family. I could see them playing and dancing with the parade-goers passing by.
Cheering from the sidewalk, Lakeshia Huff said she drove all the way from Atlanta to support her daughter, a performer in the Dollhouse Dance Factory Dancing Dolls parade.
Hough believes that by participating in the parade, her daughter will “do whatever it takes to survive.” [King] Ganbatta”: The power to unite as people without discrimination.
For many, the parade was also an opportunity to promote causes aligned with the teachings of the late civil rights leader.
In the back of a truck decorated with large brightly colored flowers, Noe Mendoza, along with Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens, chanted into a megaphone: “People are united and never divided.” rice field.
Mendoza, a prominent local immigrant rights activist, joined the parade to fight injustice against immigrants and illegal immigrants. He believes that by bringing everyone together, regardless of skin color, religion, or age, events like this become one of the best ways to fight injustice.
“It’s so beautiful to see people come together. Young and old… Stay happy in any color.” [King’s] The spirit is alive,” said Mendoza.
The Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens weren’t the only ones marching to raise awareness of their cause.
Nya Bennett, co-founder of Cultivating a Lifetime of Legacy, said the parade was her Athens-based organization’s ” [their] Help more children by investing in youth education, mentoring and career development.
Similarly, Addison Clapp, labor organizer for the Athens branch of the Socialist Liberation Party, believes the march is a good way for PSL and socialist students to connect with their communities and support all they stand for. I got
Clapp pointed out that this year there seemed to be a lot more attendees than last year, probably because of the warmer weather. I believe it is important to
“Racism is still a big issue. It hasn’t gone away. We still have to keep fighting what MLK was fighting for,” Clapp said. , it can’t go on with a few politicians…it has to be a community.”
The parade ended on the main stages of Hull and Washington Streets. There, event organizers Noah and Jasmine Johnson of Mocha honored his two Athenian elders, Pearl Hall and Fred Smith his senior, for their contributions to the community.
Hall is a former school district employee who is running for mayor of Athens Clark County in 2022. When the COVID-19 pandemic canceled a local high school graduation ceremony, Hall volunteered with the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and hosted a caravan-style graduation ceremony. .
Smith is co-founder of the Athens Area Black History Bowl and was awarded the NAACP’s Ralph Mark Gilbert Award for his work representing enslaved people whose burial grounds were discovered on the University of Georgia campus in 2015. Did.
At the award ceremony, Smith thanked his ancestors for leading the way and setting an example.
“This generation, make a difference for tomorrow, as others have done for me,” Smith said in his acceptance speech.
The ceremony was followed by a celebration with outdoor performances by Aquatic Soul, Denzel Gentry and other regional artists, as well as the MLK Day Hip Hop Showcase at World Famous.