Oklahoma City Honors Martin Luther King, Jr. At Annual Parade

Monday, January 19th 2015, 7:14 pm
By: News 9

The unusually warm and beautiful January day brought people out in droves for the annual Oklahoma City Martin Luther King, Jr. parade. And everyone who came out, came out for a different reason.

It was the year 1963 when he delivered his ‘I have a dream' speech.

And Monday, people all over the state and the country gathered in his honor to remember the legacy he left behind.

Amid all the pomp and pageantry of bands playing and people dancing, there was time for reflection and what the day really meant to some of the people in the crowd.

1/20/2014 Related Story: Parades, Marches And Service Projects To Honor MLK

Sharita Wilson of Jones brought her 3-year-old twin boys as a way to honor history.

“Being out here with all races, everybody of different creeds and colors, it's just like we're living the dream today…and just making it more profound and proficient for our children as well,” said Wilson.

Michael Burns of Oklahoma City brought his wife and three young children to the parade for the very same reason.

“I think it's important for my kids to see, to know what happened, our history,” said Burns. “We're a pretty typical white family and I want them exposed to what others have gone through.

And in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King's speech, News 9 found both black and white children standing side by side at the parade honoring his memory.

But it still begged the question; have we come far enough?

We asked both Wilson and Burns if they think race relations are better or worse.

“I think it's definitely better,” said Wilson. “Martin Luther King definitely impacted change.”

“I think it's different,” said Burns. “I mean race, the issues are way more subtle. We're talking more about white privilege than we are overt racism, not that overt racism does not exist, but there's a lot there to be learned.”

“It's better. It's stronger,” said Jessica Jackson, who also came with her family to the parade. “It's good to see everybody came together to unite to remember his legacy, his ‘I have a dream' speech. I think it's good that we all came together to remember him on this day…unite, no fight, no nothing, just all peaceful. Everybody come together as one and just enjoy this day.”

And while many who came could agree that steps definitely have been taken to improve race relations,

there is still a long way to go.

This was Oklahoma City's 34th Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration and parade.

This year's theme was ‘Honor, Celebrate and Work.'