Walk for unity seeks to save MLK celebration

Mesa equal rights march

MESA, Ariz. - The Martin Luther King celebration is at risk, and organizers held a unity walk Saturday night to bring awareness to the need for the community to come together and help keep the parade alive.

John Goodie sits on the Board of Directors of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee.  He said they were about $5,000 dollars short from keeping the dream alive.

“Once you stop, it’s hard to come back. So we don’t want to lose momentum. So that’s why we’re out here just asking folks to help us," Goodie said.

Following a ceremony, dozens walked peacefully Saturday, singing patriotic songs.

Eleven-year-old Emily Schultz said she spoke with her grandmother about the importance of unity.

"There’s been kind of a lot of attacks, and it’s not good. And it’s important to be united with other people," Schultz said.

Vice President of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee, Denise Trimble Smith, said in a time when we're seeing more division in our nation—such as the Virginia shooting against our Republican leaders and marches after the acquittal of the officer charged with the shooting death of Philando Castile this week—events like these are critical to bring peace in our country.

“When we look at the wake of all the negative things that are happening all over our country and all over the world really, it’s opportunities like this that we can show that we are still human, we are still love and we’re still united," Trimble Smith said.

Organizers made sure children led the way reminding them they are the future.  They said anything—even a dollar—helped keep the parade alive.  Anyone wanting to donate can click here.

This evening one community leader who grew up in a segregated Mesa, Phillip A. Austin, helped the cause with a $1,000 donation, bringing the January MLK celebration that was once just a dream, one step closer to staying a reality.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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