Tomorrow is the 31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March. As one who has marched consecutively for the last 21 years without missing, I look forward to once again making the 2.75 mile trek along Martin Luther King Drive to the Pittman Sullivan YMCA for the festivities.
Since 2007 I have been blessed to cover the March by taking photos of the event for my photo-blog, Before that I was strictly a marcher and active participant in the yearly tribute as a Balcones Heights Councilman, American Federation of Teachers Union President representing Harlandale ISD, and four years as a Judge.
In 1981 when I was the President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, our chapter was one of the first non-African-American organizations in San Antonio who endorsed a National Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday when it wasn’t that popular to do so.
Because of that endorsement, I was asked as President to speak to the first group of about 500 people who gathered at MLK Plaza to unofficially celebrate the occasion which the following year was to become a nationally recognized holiday.
During my coverage in photos of the March, I have covered Grand Marshalls to include Congressman John Lewis, Dr. Joseph Lowry and other civil rights activists who marched with Dr. King in the 50s and 60s.
In 2012 the guest speaker was Martin Luther King III, eldest son of the slain civil rights leader. I was fortunate to have covered MLK III a few years earlier for a program on poverty when he visited San Antonio to be a speaker at a conference.
During the 2012 event he was interviewed by San Antonio Express-News Reporter Abe Levy. In the interview he praised San Antonio “for its eye-raising turnout.” He noted that the March would have impressed his father very much.
Levy quoted MLK III who explained, “My father said the highest love is defined by the word ‘agape.’ It is the love that is totally unselfish because it seeks nothing in return.”
“You love because you know God calls you to do that. And when we embrace that kind of love, we will move America and the entire world forward. We’ve got to have that kind of love for humankind,” MLK III added.
His speech to the estimated crowd of over 100-thousand marchers was well received. By 2018 the crowd size for the march was over 300-thousand and counting.
Assuming this year’s event will continue to grow well over 300-thousand plus, we can look forward to another successful celebration of the legacy of national civil rights leader. If you haven’t ever participated, now might be the time to do so. Be sure when you attend the MLK March and be sure that you wear some comfortable shoes for the 2.75 mile trek!
It should be noted that 50 years ago the world lost Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King. Fortunately San Antonio continues to host the largest march in the nation to honor his legacy of non-violent approach of the civil rights movement.
The City of San Antonio’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commission continues its commemoration of King’s legacy by celebrating the 51st anniversary of the first March for Justice organized by the late Rev. Dr. Raymond “R.A.” Callies Sr., a San Antonio teacher and pastor. I marched with him back in the day.
Tomorrow we will all march the 2.75 miles on MLK Drive towards Pittman-Sullivan Park, and with once again approximately 300,000+ participants. Keynote Speaker: Shaun King, journalist, humanitarian, and activist. The program will feature the City of San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and other national, state, and county officials