Children lined Broadway Avenue on Monday for the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. They hoped to collect candy or get a high five from Oklahoma City Thunder mascot Rumble as he rode by on a Segway, but the young students also knew who they were celebrating.
"(King) gave us freedom. He said that ‘I have a dream;’ that white kids could play with black kids and end discrimination,” Amaiya Coleman, 10, said as she watched the parade with her two siblings. Mia Coleman said she has made a point to teach her children about King. "He did a lot to serve our country, and we need to honor him,” she said. For many students, the long weekend is used as an extra play day or for a family trip, but most students are at least reminded in school on Friday why they have the day off, even if their parents don’t take them out to celebrate. Mia Coleman said that while she was volunteering in her daughter’s class Friday at Eisenhower Elementary School, the class was shown a video about the civil rights activist. Sixteen-year-old Tyrone Lindsey attended Monday’s parade with the Star Spencer High School Junior ROTC program. "You practically learn about Martin Luther King every year,” Lindsey said. "You learn a little bit more about him every year.” This year, Lindsey said his class focused on King’s "I have a dream” speech, delivered in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Lindsey, who was waiting to participate in the parade with his ROTC program, said a majority of students probably didn’t use the day to reflect on King’s life, but rather enjoyed a day off school. Parade organizer William Jones said it’s important for events to draw attention to King and that he was glad so many different types of people participated in the parade. "I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people of different origins we were seeing,” he said. Martin Luther King Day coverage