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Thousands Take Part In Annual MLK Parade, Festival In Liberty City

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thousands turned out for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Liberty City.

The parade along NW 54th Street culminated in a festival at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 6101 NW 32nd Court.

Over the years, the event has become an all-day affair and multicultural tradition. It draws marching bands from schools throughout the state and even from out of the country. This year groups traveled from Jamaica and the Bahamas to take part.

The legacy of King still resonates nearly half a decade after his “I have a dream” speech and 46 years after his murder.

“We celebrate Martin Luther King, you know, everybody gets together, we enjoy ourselves and have a good time with no violence,” said Florence Browder.

“I brought my grandkids down from West Palm and tried to teach them about Martin Luther King and how he lived, and the civil rights. Every year I come down and bring them down,” said Larry Franklin.

Many at the festival said while there has been some achievements, much remains to be done.

“The discrimination is still around. You can’t think ‘Oh we have a black president, everything is fine’. There’s discrimination in the workplace for many ethnicities,” said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

The parade’s route stretched through neighborhoods that are no strangers to crime and violence.

“Crime has gone down here but this is only one street. We need to work block by block and make the community better,” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

Some said Martin Luther King may be disheartened by the usage of drugs and lack of role models in much of the community he labored so hard to lift up.

“He would be disappointed if fathers did not come out on a day like today and to help keep down the crime, keep down drugs, keep down anything that is going to cause any thing destructive of what he stood for,” said Wayne Nowell from Miami Gardens.

Overwhelmingly, those who took part in the parade and festival were proud of what has been accomplished over the years since King’s death, but added there was still more to be done.

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