MARCHING FOR UNITY
At MLK Youth Parade, calls for respect and rejection of president’s vulgar remarks
Cymbals clashed, drums pounded and trumpets blasted in the chilly morning air Saturday as hundreds of children marched through Midtown in the 12th Annual MLK Youth Parade.
Dozens of dancers, musicians and cheerleaders performed, as politicos, proud parents and Houstonians lined the streets to enjoy the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
Yet, one dissonant chord reverberated uncomfortably through the tribute to the slain civil rights leader: Recent reports that President Donald Trump disparaged African nations by calling them “shitholes.” Even the youngest of the paradegoers rejected the remark, which they said rang counter to King’s legacy and represented a step backward in a decadeslong struggle for racial equality.
Dozens of members of the Good News Saints football and cheer team, from the east Houston Good News Christian Fellowship Church, clapped and cheered as they performed.
King’s message to Trump would have been simple, they explained.
“He stood up for everybody,” one child said.
Amaya Edwards, 8, smiled shyly when recounting about King’s legacy.
“Be nice to people,” she said. “Give respect.”
Adrian Narvaez, a 17-yearold senior and the drum major for Stephen F. Austin High School’s Sonic Boom marching band, said MLK would have one more piece of advice for the Trump era.
“He would say stop fighting everybody,” he said. “It doesn’t
matter what country you’re from. Everybody needs to unite.”
A few blocks down San Jacinto, Shanice Phillips, 29, watched the parade trickle by, as her bundled up 2-year-old, Joelle Phillips, bobbed and swayed in time to the music.
Phillips had seen kids from different nationalities, different interests, and different areas all working to celebrate together. What might King make of it?
“How far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go,” she said.
Kineisha Star, 16, traveled with dozens of members of her group, the Isiserettes Drill & Drum Corp., all the way from Des Moines, Iowa, to participate in the Houston parade, after first performing in it in 2011.
“If not for Martin Luther King, we wouldn’t all be here,” Star said. “Anybody can change a problem in the world. They just have to put their mind to it and get through it.”
Kineisha Star, 16, leads the dancers in the Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps. from Des Moines, Iowa, marching in the 12th Annual MLK Youth Parade on Saturday in Houston. The parade featured 10 parade floats and 20 marching bands.
Spectators cover themselves in big jackets and blankets to stay warm while watching the MLK Youth Parade on Saturday in Houston.
Grayson Smith, 20, plays drums in the Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps. The group from Des Moines, Iowa, last performed in the parade in 2011.