Has the Parade Gone the Way of the Record Player?

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Today we celebrate a man, a great man who worked with a group of others to make real changes in this country. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 and died on April 4, 1968. You can read all about him…all over the internet. I want to talk about something else.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Standing on the side of the street behind an aged chain-link fence, listening to a mix of hip-hop and pop music, I watch members of the community walk slowly across my view. This parade, a tradition in many black communities, smells of a mix of weed and Black and Milds, showcases the behinds of twerkers and blasts the sound of crude and vulgar music. After standing there just a few minutes, all I could think was..

What’s the point?

Is this what our beloved Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had envisioned for us?

The side of the hearse boasts “Living the Dream” with a picture of Dr. King himself. The message that this company has the ability to drive their vehicle down the street without the fear of violence or retaliation is not lost on me.

Yet, in this atmosphere, I don’t see the dream being realized.

I watch high school bands and elementary school dance squads perform while walking, followed by group after group holding their representative banners. What I didn’t see was a message of progress or even a real reminder of why we were hosting a parade.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Then I started thinking… does this parade have a place in today’s society? One could argue that it creates a sense of community, but as I came and went, I met no one nor had a reason to. Maybe it’s just a place to go… a community event on a Saturday morning.

In celebrating Dr. King, this parade seems to miss reminding people of the struggle, where we…  came from and where we should try to go.

Dr. King stood for equality and I’m just not seeing it. Would he approve of this? Would he want this? Should we want this?

Then I thought, are other Dr. King parades like this? Maybe it’s just this one? I should check out another one next year.

Finally I wondered about all parades… are parades something that a lot of people still like?

The Rose Parade reports to have about 70 million viewers worldwide and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade says that they have about 53.5 million viewers nationally.

So I want to know…

Do you watch either of these parades? Or do you watch any parades? What parade do you enjoy most? What’s your favorite part of the parade?

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