Thousands march in Knoxville's MLK Day Parade

Thousands march in Knoxville's MLK Day Parade

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Celebrations were held across the nation Monday in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's birthday. Celebrations were held across the nation Monday in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's birthday.
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance takes these puppets to several demonstrations throughout the year, but they say no celebration is more in line with their mission than this one. The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance takes these puppets to several demonstrations throughout the year, but they say no celebration is more in line with their mission than this one.
"We still have things to work for," said Wayne Carlton, President of the Knoxville Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. "We think it's very important for us to perpetuate the spirit of Martin Luther King even though he is gone." "We still have things to work for," said Wayne Carlton, President of the Knoxville Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. "We think it's very important for us to perpetuate the spirit of Martin Luther King even though he is gone."

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Celebrations were held across the nation Monday in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's birthday. In Knoxville, thousands marched on the city's east side down the street bearing his name.

For many, it's a yearly celebration and a chance to pay tribute to the man who inspired this country through his dreams. For others, it's a chance to make sure those dreams continue.

"We still have things to work for," said Wayne Carlton, President of the Knoxville Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. "We think it's very important for us to perpetuate the spirit of Martin Luther King even though he is gone."

One of the most recognizable parts of this parade each year is the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance.

"One of the things we have done is create these larger than life puppets with heroes from across the social and cultural spectrum, but the one thing they share in common is King's vision of a world that is seeking justice and equality for everyone," said Alliance member, Ralph Hutchison.

The group takes these puppets to several demonstrations throughout the year, but they say no celebration is more in line with their mission than this one.

"It's always really inspiring, because we strive for the beloved community and every once in a while we get to experience it and that's what this morning is about," said Hutchison.

For many, that gives hope for the future, especially seeing all the young people taking part.

"They're good kids," said Carlton. "They're some kids that need some guidance and some that just need some mentoring and that's what we're here for."

They say that's what will keep them coming back in the years to come.

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