Wintry weather no deterrent for Denver’s Martin Luther King Jr. “Marade” marchers
Author: Marianne Goodland - January 15, 2018 - Updated: January 16, 2018
Monday’s quick-hit storm that turned Denver city streets into solid ice may have turned away some of those who planned to participate in the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Marade. But those who came, numbering in the low thousands, marched on, because “there’s still work to be done.”
This year’s Marade (a combination of march and parade) came just a few days after President Donald Trump reportedly told a gathering of senators that he wanted immigrants from Norway rather than those from “shitholes” like Africa, El Salvador or Haiti.
Former Mayor Wellington Webb told The Denver Post he wouldn’t talk “about that white nationalist in the White House,” during Denver’s MLK Marade. “If we can survive slavery, we can survive that man in the White House.”
But that didn’t stop others from speaking about it at the Marade and the ceremony at Denver’s Civic Center Park. Signs blasting the White House’s current resident dotted the marade route.
Keynote speaker Ryan Ross, formerly of the Community College of Denver and now leading the Urban Leadership Foundation of Denver, reminded the crowd about Trump’s remarks, although he didn’t mention Trump by name.
“It’s been a great morning,” Ross said. “But I can’t help but wonder what will happen tomorrow …. Although today we see an illumination of pure joy, I have to remind us that there’s still much work to do. When the leader of the free world is an open racist, and those around him won’t hold him accountable, there’s much work to do! When the leader of the free world can publicly talk about people from other countries, saying they’re from holes, there’s much work to do! When we witness a young man attacked and lose his livelihood simply because he took a knee for justice, there’s much work to do!” (The latter reference was to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.)
Those in attendance included Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Gov. John Hickenlooper, and former Rep. and first lady Wilma Webb, who led the effort to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday in Colorado.
Plenty of politicians, although not as many as last year, also walked with the marade crowd, including Phil Weiser and George Brauchler, both running for attorney general; state Rep. Polly Lawrence of Roxborough Park, a candidate for state treasurer; gubernatorial candidates Noel Ginsburg and Michael Johnston; and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver. UPDATE: Also among the marchers, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder; Reps. Leslie Herod and Jovan Melton of Denver and state Sen. Angela Williams, also of Denver.
While not at the marade, Senate President Kevin Grantham and Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran both had something to say about Monday’s observance.
“Because he had a dream in 1963, America is a better place today, in 2018,” Grantham said. “We must never forget men like Dr. King, who dedicated their lives to ensuring equality under the law and equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless of the color of their skin. Let us take today to remember Dr. King, his legacy, and the amazing impact he has had on this country.”
On #MLKDay, we must also honor #CorettaScottKing for her selfless dedication to advancing equality and justice for all. Let's recommit ourselves to this cause. She is an #AmericanShero & inspiration to so many. @TheKingCenter #MLK50Forward #MLK #WomensRights #LGBTQRights https://t.co/STQNr89Hnb
— Crisanta Duran (@crisantaduran) January 15, 2018
Today, we honor Dr. King not because he died for justice, but because he lived for justice. He understood that the phrase “all men are created equal” was never a guarantee; it was a promise to be fulfilled by every generation of Americans. #Marade #MLKDay pic.twitter.com/a1zQXFDXbC
— Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) January 15, 2018
Alan Salazar, Hancock’s chief of staff, also marched. “Right now at this time, given where we are with the Trump administration, there’s no more important time, no matter how cold it is, to show that this is what America is, not what’s in the Oval Office,” he told Colorado Politics.