MLK marchers promote unity

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St. Philip's President Adena Loston waits at the central campus, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, to join the college's estimated 200 participants in the city's 27th Martin Luther King Jr. March that spands 2.75 miles. Loston said she wasn't able to march the full length because she recently had surgery on her right foot. Photo by Riley Stephens

St. Philip’s President Adena Loston waits at the central campus, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, to join the college’s estimated 200 participants in the city’s 27th Martin Luther King Jr. March that spands 2.75 miles. Loston said she wasn’t able to march the full length because she recently had surgery on her right foot. Photo by Riley Stephens

St. Philip’s College helps sponsor 2.7 mile walk.

By Bleah B. Patterson

On Jan. 20, an estimated 175,000 people marched carrying signs not only for racial equality but gender equality, sexual equality, job equality and rights for union workers, in the 27th annual Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. March.

Organizers of the march opened the observation with a morning worship program hosted by the Rev. Kevin L. Nelson of Calvary Baptist Church.

The program, at the Martin Luther King Junior Academy preceding the march, included dancers, musical performances and performances by students of the academy.

The grand marshal, Leonard Fuller, has been a participant in the march for 15 years and has been serving as grand marshal for three years

“Martin Luther King has done a lot, and I wanted to get involved,” Marshall said. “It’s great because everyone can get together without fighting. There’s peace and unity.”

An estimated 175,000 participants marched 2.75 miles Monday, along San Antonio's Martin Luther King Drive to honor civil rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The march was the 27th  for the city and began at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy and endeded at Pittman-Sullivan Park with guest speakers, gospel artists, food and music. Photo by Riley Stephens

An estimated 175,000 participants marched 2.75 miles Monday, along San Antonio’s Martin Luther King Drive to honor civil rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The march was the 27th for the city and began at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy and endeded at Pittman-Sullivan Park with guest speakers, gospel artists, food and music. Photo by Riley Stephens

Since the first Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. March in 198,7 Joyce Callis has been volunteering because volunteers believe in King’s dream and that King’s

message is for everyone.

“So many people don’t understand, black or white,” Callis said. “Dr. King loved everyone and wanted everyone to love each other.”

Nicholas Rogers, eighth grade student at the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, recited King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

Residents of the Delmar Apartment Complex, Erma Kidsy and Loma Martinez have been sitting streetside in lawn chairs at the march since the first one to cheer on marchers and wave signs praising King for his fight against inequality and urging marchers to continue his legacy.

On Monday, nearly two dozen residents joined them.

“We look forward to it every year,” Kidsy said. “Dr. King went through a lot for a dream that never dies.”

As the march began, groups at the front of the crowd cheered, raised signs and chanted: “A people united will never be defeated.”

The closing ceremony welcomed tired march participants at Pittman-Sullivan park at the end of a 2.75 mile trek from the academy.

The ceremony included speeches by David M. Copeland, chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Convention and San Antonio District 3 Councilwomen Rebecca Viagran on behalf of Mayor Julian Castro.

Commemorative keynote speaker, Jamal-Harrison Bryant, pastor Of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, echoed speakers before him and urged marchers to live at peace with each other and pursue a life of unity.

The ceremony also included musical performances from gospel recording artist Wess Morgan who sang various titles from his album “Under An Open Heaven.”

Students in bright blue shirts represented St. Philip’s College, who were among the many sponsors of the march.

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