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MLK parade draws hundreds of participates
FOX 4 News - by Lauren Huet
Hundreds of people gathered this morning to watch and participate in a parade honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade participants kicked off the event with a rally at Alice Keith Park. After the rally, participants walked, drove, and rode from the park to Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.
Jasmine Ceasar and her family watch the parade every year.
"These are my little cousins, my little sister, and my little brother," said Ceasar.
Ceasar says it's important for her younger siblings and cousins to learn about Dr. King's legacy.
"They need to know that their past was much harder than their beginning is today," said Ceasar.
The Central, Ozen, and West Brook High School bands filled the air with music.
"There has to be unity in our community, and as you see today with all of the schools, all the different community organizations, this is just a great day," said Beaumont Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois.
"Today is about community," said Dr. Chargois, speaking to a crowd at the rally, "it's about everybody coming out, working together to celebrate the legacy of a great man."
A legacy Judge Ransom "Duce" Jones says means a lot to America.
"It's freedom for all, justice for all," said Judge Jones, "and he wanted us all to learn to live together in spite of color, just the character of a person. Basically what he said is what Jesus said, treat people the way you want to be treated."
The President of the Beaumont Chapter of the NAACP, Bertha Lights, says it's important to pass on Dr. King's legacy to the next generation.
"It's just amazing to see that they know the reason that he gave his life and marched for freedom," said Lights, "and it is important that they carry on the legacy when we're gone."
Jacob Madison, who attends Martin Luther King, Jr. middle school, agrees.
"I think he was a great man," said Madison, "and I loved his speech, and I loved his dream of diversity, and everyone going to the same school no matter what race."
The Executive Director of the Beaumont Chapter of the NAACP, Paul Jones, says there is still work to be done to realize Dr. King's dream.
"I don't think we will ever arrive," said Jones. "I think we will continue to make progress, but it is a process that goes on and on, because I think once you get to the point of saying you've arrived then it begins to deteriorate again."
People attending the parade say they enjoy it when the community comes together.
"I love everybody you know, it's a beautiful thing. That's what it's all about: unity," said Robert Vallier, who brings his family to the parade every year.
Martin Luther King Day is observed the third Monday of every January. This year, MLK Day is January 20th. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Support Group of Southeast Texas will hold its 28th annual brunch at the Robert Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur to celebrate.