Hundreds honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with celebration in downtown Fort Worth

January 20,2020

See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Domingo Ramirez, Jr. here.

Thomas Guerin sat bundled up Monday morning on Houston Street in Fort Worth as the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday parade and rally was set to begin.

It was a routine he has done for about 10 years, because before being a spectator he was a participant in the Fort Worth event that honors King.

“He paved the way,” Guerin said Monday morning, referring to King. “It was his work that led to our progress and that’s what he means to me.”

Guerin wasn’t alone. Hundreds of people braved chilly temperatures on Monday morning in downtown Fort Worth to be a part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, march and rally to commemorate the iconic civil rights leader.

Political candidates, high school marching bands that came from as far away as DeSoto, school ROTC groups and more marched Monday to celebrate and remember King.

“He was a peaceful man, and I have tried to follow his path,” said 67-year-old Eddie Davis of Fort Worth.

Davis was at the parade selling his drawings, one of which was of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.

“I come to this parade as often as possible,” Davis said. “It’s great way to meet the people.”

For others, like Guerin, the parade has been a way to honor King for years. Guerin has been a spectator in recent years, but he was in the parade when he attended O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth.

“I was just 4 years old when he was killed,” Guerin said. “So I don’t remember much about him, but it was his work that we all know.”

In the rally at Sundance Square, organizers emphasized the importance of the young generation as they remembered King, who was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis.

Crowds also were treated Monday to a celebration featuring high school bands from all over Fort Worth at Sundance Square.

But it was 20-year-old Ronnie Wilson Jr. of Fort Worth who reminded everyone of King’s day. Wilson stood before a podium at the rally Monday and read excerpts from Dr. King’s speech on “loving your enemies,” which he delivered in a sermon in 1957 and then again as a speech at Howard University.

Wilson told the crowd, ”When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be terms of recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of help that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must not do it.”

Wilson noted, “That is the meaning of love.”