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Smiling faces lined the street this morning as people watched the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade stretch from the Fort Worth Convention Center to the Courthouse downtown.
The participants, including local high school bands, sorority and fraternity alumni and various activist groups, began their march up Houston Street and back down Main Street.
Pamela Harmon, a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, proudly marched in the parade while waving her sorority banner overhead.
“It was wonderful,” Harmon said. “There was a lot of participation.”
The parade concluded with a gathering at Sundance Square in which several elected officials spoke briefly.
State Representative Ramon Romero commented on the use of confederate flags Saturday morning in the Stock Show All Western Parade.
“I saw injustice this weekend, as we walked along this same parade route, when people felt like it was alright to bring out the ‘stars and bars’ [Confederate flag],” Romero said. “Unfortunately, people in our own city have forgotten what that used to mean to so many.”
Congressman Marc Veasey urged the audience to continue to be active citizens in the community with the tools available.
“Let’s not forget what this day is about,” Veasey said. “Make sure we always go and vote; let’s keep the march for justice alive.”
Many audience members joined in as Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks sang a portion of the Civil Rights Hymn, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round.”
The speeches were followed by performances from local high school bands that encouraged spectators to dance and clap along, and applause filled Sundance Square after each performance.
Doris Smith, another member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, said why she believes the parade tradition is so important.
“We want our future generations to realize that a price was paid for all the freedoms we enjoy,” Smith said. “So we are here every year.”