Editor's note: Events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. over the weekend are subject to change or cancellation, due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Participants are encouraged to contact organizers ahead to confirm event details.
Amarillo is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a variety of events.
On Monday, Gateway to Success Inc. and Amarillo Independent School Districts will host their second annual March Parade in the Civil Rights activist’s honor at 11 a.m.
“Dr. King was about civil rights. It wasn’t just about Black people. It was about rights, and that’s what we want to drive home as far as a 2022 message. From 1968 when he was assassinated to present day, it was his goal to see these things to fruition, and we're there. ... Now, we’ve got to continue it,” said Keith Grays, co-coordinator with AISD.
Individuals participating in the parade are asked to line up at 900 N. Hayden at 10 a.m. The march will begin promptly at 11 a.m. Individuals will walk from NW 9th and Hayden to Bones Hooks Park in honor of King.
The parade will include all participants, all four of the AISD marching bands, dance teams and more.
After marchers arrive at the park, lunches will be provided by sponsors Chick-fil-A on Georgia Street, United Supermarkets and Amarillo Police Department. They will be serving chicken sandwiches and hamburgers; drinks are sponsored by Pepsi Beverages Co. During this time, individuals will also be encouraged to listen to the program provided by all four AISD showcase choirs, featuring the high school marching bands as they sing the national anthem and more at the Jewelle Allen center stage at Bones Hooks Park beginning at noon.
The League of Women Voters Amarillo chapter will have a booth to help individuals sign up for voter registration, and the Amarillo City Health Department will also be administering booster shots to those who sign up and will be handing out masks and hand sanitizer.
Community service to honor King's legacy
In addition, according to the Amarillo NAACP website, the Amarillo branch of the NAACP in conjunction with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the American Red Cross will hold an event at the Warford Activity Center beginning at 9 a.m. to install smoke detectors in the homes of North Heights residents. Fire safety tips will also be provided to residents. breakfast and lunch will be provided to community members participating.
Amarillo United Citizens Forum Will organize a day of service to honor Dr. King on Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Black Historical Culture Center, at 901 North Hayden. The group is seeking community members of all skill sets to help to beautify the culture center. Dinner will be provided for those who participate.
Many organizations and businesses will close in celebration of the holiday, including River Road Independent School District, Canyon ISD and Amarillo ISD.
"We want to build these events and the involvement ... We want to build something to pass on to the next generation to continue to embrace each other's differences," Grays said.
WTAMU video celebration
Both West Texas A&M University and Amarillo College campuses will be closed Monday in celebration of the holiday.
Videos of leaders from several student organizations reading excerpts from King’s speeches will play in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center Commons beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
A planned march from the University Dining Hall to the JBK has been canceled, WT announced Friday.
“There are so many more powerful messages for various causes that he delivered,” said Angela Allen, WT’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “We wanted the students to find meaningful excerpts from those speeches to help us all recognize that the battles that are still going on are not new.”
Participating students include Sir’Garen Grayson, junior public relations-advertising major from Amarillo, representing the Black Student Union; Tyrone Leggett, junior health sciences major from Bloomfield, Conn., representing the Black Student Union; Deanndra Murry, a December communication graduate from Houston, representing Diversity Ambassadors; Allan Baltazar, a senior criminal justice major from Houston, representing F1RSTGEN and Hispanic Students Association; Ashley Oakes, a senior marketing major from Amarillo, representing McNair Scholars; Tearanee’ Lockhart, junior broadcast journalism major from Amarillo, representing the Black Student Union; and Aurora Garcia-Comer, senior biology major from Borger, representing the Black Student Union.
City closures, changes
The city of Amarillo offices will be closing their doors in remembrance of King and his mission as well. Some Monday closings include all public libraries within the city, the Amarillo Public Health Department, and all city landfill and brush sites.
The Amarillo Solid Waste Services will be closed for the holiday, and residential routes and poly cart routes normally serviced on Monday will be serviced Tuesday. Tuesday routes will be serviced Wednesday. All commercial solid waste routes will be serviced Tuesday.
Amarillo City Transit will operate a Saturday schedule on MLK Day.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Amarillo to celebrate MLK Jr. Day with variety of events