Tucson community honors legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Reid Park despite inclement weather

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 5:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Bad weather didn’t stop people from remembering the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday dedicated to the late civil rights leader.

Here in Tucson, a march and celebration returned after two years of virtual celebrations due to the pandemic.

Over the years, there’s been a lot of changes that have brought us closer to achieving Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, but there’s still more work to be done.

The theme for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. march and celebration is “Together We Can Be the Dream.” Around 100 people braved the rain and marched from MLK Jr. Way – Kino Parkway and 36th Street to Reid Park.

″I just believe don’t let the weather stop you,” said Vapor Neals, who has participated in this event for over 20 years. “As a minister, you’re going to serve God. If it’s raining, I’m not going to serve God today because it’s raining – no. Don’t let the weather stop you.”

At Reid Park, the celebration continued with testimonies from speakers advocating to continue the work for a better future as well as performances by local groups.

″The memory of Dr. Martin Luther King and the commemorative effort he put forth not just for black people, but for every race,” said participant Karen Bailey.

″It brings communities together, diverse communities and just to express love for one another and show support,” Naomi Carter added.

The day gave people a chance to reflect on the progress that’s been made thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King.

“A lot of things are happening for the African American people and that’s a good thing. It’s changing tremendously,” Neals explained.

But the job’s not done, and many are still working to keep the dream alive and demand change.

″I want to see more changes in our education system,” said Kijev King, who brought his sons to the celebration. “I want to see more money invested in our children. I want to see better outcomes for students because that’s how I think we get to that dream that Martin Luther King really wanted to establish.”

Education was a big topic among the people at the event as well as creating more programs for the African American community.

Many hope there will also be more events like this to come here in Tucson.