MIAMI (CBS4) – One of the oldest and largest Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations in the United States takes place on the street’s of Miami’s Liberty City. The 34th annual MLK Parade runs along NW 54th Street and stretches from 10th Avenue to 32nd Avenue. Celebrities, elected officials and thousands of residents attend the parade every year.
Lekeshia Bethea and her family made sure they secured a front row spot.
“My son is in the parade and I’m ready to take pictures and have an awesome time,” said Bethea.
Today marks the 25th anniversary since the civil rights leaders’ birthday was first commemorated as a federal holiday. Linda Carter made sure she brought along her grandchildren.
“This year I decided to bring my grands out. I came out early and forgot my chair,” said Carter who remembers all too well how King fought peacefully for equal rights for the African American community. “He wasn’t only for black people, he was for white people too and we have to keep telling our kids that we don’t see color.”
Dorothy Jackson believes it’s important for her grandkids to learn about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
“I really want them to learn who he is. They don’t teach it to some kids. Only thing they do is Black History week and that’s it,” said Jackson.
Street vendors, like Nicholas Lepkowski, anticipate are hoping the parade will generate good business.
“Six to seven hundred dollars, that’s pretty good to come out here and enjoy the weather, I’ll do it anytime,” said Lepkowski.
Juanita Kelly said she was prepared for possible bad weather.
“I get here early enough and that way you don’t get blocked and if it starts to rain, I’ll get in my car,” said Kelly.
In Pompano Beach, residents honored Martin Luther King, Jr. with a parade, as well. The celebration line-up began at Mitchell Moore Community Center and ended on NW 6th Avenue at Blanche Ely High School.
Florida State Senator Chris Smith took part in the parade to honor the slain civil rights leader.
“Because of Dr. King I’m able to serve in the Florida Senate,” said Smith who acknowledged King’s stance for peace and unity.
Trinetta McMillian was a participant at the parade’s celebration.
“He really got us believing in ourselves, in what we can do and just being an African American and proud of who we are,” said McMillian.
Teachers at All My Children Academy felt it was vital for their preschoolers to take part in the Pompano Parade.
“I know about white only bathrooms and white only drinking faucets,” said Pre-School teacher Patricia Thompson who remembers growing up in Alabama during a time when racial tensions were steep.