Activities based on the theme “Challenges Beyond The Dream” are planned for Oklahoma City's observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, said Roosevelt Milton, vice chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Coalition.
Milton said he is confident Monday's weather will cooperate for the events in honor of the civil rights leader who was slain in 1968.
The commemoration has had to be postponed in previous years because of bad weather, but “we've never had to cancel it,” Milton said.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been a holiday in Oklahoma since 1985, he said.
This year's theme makes reference to King's “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in Washington in 1963, Milton said.
While there has been much progress in race relations, notably the election and re-election of President Barack Obama, “we realize we have other problems,” Milton said.
Among those are the abolishing of the state's Human Rights Commission and last year's vote to ban affirmative action in Oklahoma, he said.
Recent Oklahoma laws that require voters to present a valid government-issued form of identification amount to “suppression of voting rights,” Milton said.
Each year's MLK Day commemoration is capped with a parade through downtown. The parade is to start at 2 p.m. at NW 7 and Broadway Avenue and the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and Mickey Mantle Drive near Deep Deuce, which he called the city's “cradle of African-American culture.”
The parade features floats, bands, horses, motorcycles, cars and tractors. A panel of judges picks the top entries and awards prizes, he said.