Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event draws huge crowds


Brenda Kochevar

Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration, downtown Phoenix

Brenda Kochevar and Ashu Yadav

The East Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade took place in Mesa on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. The Parade stepped off at 11 a.m. from Center Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and continued to the south on center to First Street, and then traveled West on First Street and concluded at Robson.

The event was organized by the City of Mesa and Mesa Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and the Grand Marshal was Reyna Montoya, founder and CEO of Aliento.

Mesa Council members, Police and Military Unions, High School and College marching bands, motorcycles, civic, church, Mesa Fire and Medical Department and many other local organizations were strolling in downtown Mesa during the MLK Parade.

Hundreds of people showed up the youth to the elderly to take part and watch the parade.

The Scottsdale Community College, CCI (Community College Initiative Program) students stepped in to volunteer at the parade.

It was their first experience to see the MLK Parade and to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in United States.

Northeast Valley News spoke with Fulgence Assamoi, a CCI Student attending the Mesa event.

“The Martin Luther King Day is worth celebrating since it records one of the most important periods in the history of US in general and black Americans in particular. They fought for all American citizens to work and work side by side, getting rid of any social identity” Assamoi said.

Thousands of walkers also met at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Phoenix for the two-mile MLK March to Margaret T. Hance Park.

The MLK Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix featured a remembrance of Dr. King and historical civil right events, vendors, entertainment and food were offered throughout the day.

Northeast Valley News spoke with Shelakea Howell at the MLK Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park in Downtown Phoenix. She described her delight over day’s events.

“I heard there was a MLK March. We usually go to the one in Mesa. I just decided to switch it up at the last minute and see what this one is about. I actually like it. It’s bigger, there’s more people and more things to do. And it’s just good to get out into the community and see the diversity. I didn’t know there was this many people out here actually that you know look similiar to me, so that’s good!” Howell said.