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San Antonio's MLK March Still Strong After 30 years

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Joey Palacios
/
Texas Public Radio
Many of San Antonio's elected officals joined the head of Monday's MLK March on the city's eastside.

This year marks 30 years of San Antonio’s annual march to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Patches of rain didn’t keep people away Monday.  Martin Luther King Drive on San Antonio’s East Side was flooded with thousands of marchers and people who want to keep the dream alive.

“I’m too old to march now, but I still support them and I love this,” says 65-year-old Leonard Brown.

Brown watched the march from a driveway near the route’s end.

“I grew up in the '50s and the '60s. This is important. These young children out here need to know what's going on too,” he adds. “If this wasn't happening we'd probably still be in the '60s. It wasn't any fun back then.”

It’s been 54 years since Dr. King’s March on Washington. Over the last two years the U.S. has seen high-profile racial tensions return.  Ivy Taylor is San Antonio’s first African-American mayor. She believes there needs to be more person-to-person interaction.

“People interacting with people who look and think differently than themselves; so that when they encounter those folks in different settings they feel more comfortable,” Taylor says.

In 1987, San Antonio held its first march. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff was a councilman back then. He says some of the credit goes to former Mayor Henry Cisneros.

"Henry was the first mayor - Hispanic mayor - elected of a city of over 500,000 people so he did a great job in bringing equity to the table for all ethnic groups and the fact that we were able to do that with the march was a big step forward," Wolff says.

San Antonio claims to have one of the largest MLK marches in the country, nearly always attracting more than 100,000 attendees.