Culture

Arlington's MLK parade canceled after funding pulled amid protest threat

Arlington's MLK parade canceled after funding pulled amid protest threat”

Former Judge L. Clifford Davis, a civil rights attorney, was to be the grand marshal in the Arlington parade, billed as "the largest Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in the world" and geared to serve as a six-county celebration, of King's work, uniting Tarrant, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman and Collin counties. Parade organizers also listed the city of Arlington and the Arlington branch of the NAACP in the sponsor page, but spokespeople for the city and the local NAACP said they weren't sponsors.

Although the city did receive the appeal, they still have not received the required payment, Warren said. Organizers have 5 days to appeal and the city would have 5 days to respond after an appeal is filed.

Alisa Simmons, president of the Arlington NAACP, said she believes city officials about the event's financial obstacles, though she credits her group for getting the parade kicked out of the city.

The NAACP was hosting a Town Hall meeting to plot a strategy to protest the planned MLK Day parade, because the organization and some community leaders were opposed to the Governor Greg Abbott being tapped to be Honorary Grand Marshal.

Barbee said there are bands, floats, and guests, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s son, who were planning to attend. "We do not endorse this scheduled event".

Thursday's press release from the city made no mention of the Abbott controversy, citing only the failure to meet requirements set by Arlington's special events ordinance.

"What they've done has no use for us trying to build bridges to solve the problems that our communities are facing", Tatum said. "That's probably two steps ahead of where the process is right now".

Barbee said organizers plan to appeal the city's decision, but Yelverton said the group had already missed several deadlines, making the parade impossible to pull off.

However, she said she feels relieved that they can spend Martin Luther King Jr. day honoring him appropriately in other city events.



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