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San Antonio's 2020 MLK March: What You Need To Know

MLK-March-2014.JPG
Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio
The march in 2014.

Thousands of people are expected to participate in San Antonio’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day march -- the largest in the United States -- on the city's East Side on Monday.

Events begin at 8 a.m. with a church service at Martin Luther King Academy at 3501 Martin Luther King Drive. Marchers will then follow a 2.7 mile route to Pittman-Sullivan Park.

Forecasters expect Monday morning to be sunny and clear and in the 40s. The day honoring the slain civil rights leader is expected to remain sunny and reach a high of about 60 degrees.

James Earl Ray assassinated King in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. The civil rights leader was in the city to show support for striking sanitation workers.

MLK Day is a holiday in San Antonio. City Hall and most municipal offices will be closed on Monday. Recycling, organics recycling, and garbage pickup scheduled for Monday will be collected Tuesday. Tuesday pickup is rescheduled for Wednesday. A complete list of closures is at SanAntonio.gov.

Bus service and some parking will also be affected on Monday. VIA Metropolitan Transit service will run on a Saturday schedule. Visitors to downtown will enjoy a break from paying the on-street parking meters.

VIA will also provide free rides to the MLK march. Free service is available from the Freeman Coliseum and St. Philip's College. Passengers will be picked up between 8 and 10 a.m. and dropped off on MLK Drive, west of Upland. Buses will return passengers to the original pickup locations between noon and 3 p.m. Return service can also be accessed from Pittman-Sullivan Park. More details are available on VIAinfo.net.

Also at the event on Monday will be volunteers helping a San Antonio man who's fighting leukemia. Reggie Campbell needs a bone marrow transplant, and workers from GeneCure will register potential donors who might be able to help African Americans like him.

Ashley Frolick with GeneCure said it's especially challenging for African Americans who need bone marrow transplants.

"They have a 23 percent chance of finding their match," she said, "whereas all the other groups are at about 40 percent range, and Caucasians have a 70 percent change of finding a match."

The registration drive will be at the corner of Palmetto Avenue and Iowa Street.

San Antonio isn't the only Texas community recognizing MLK Day as a paid municipal holiday. Last week, the Corpus Christi City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to observe the holiday, which is already observed by Nueces County and throughout the state of Texas. Officials said adding the holiday will cost the Gulf Coast city $1.1 million in salary, overtime and benefits.

Marchers in Laredo will mark MLK Day by rallying against the border wall project. The Laredo Morning Times reported last week that the protest would take place a day before the federal government was expected to approach the Laredo City Council to request access to miles of city-owned floodplain land.

Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan reportedly told Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz that the government will build a less-obtrusive bulkhead instead of a steel bollard fence. But only if the city compromises on the government's request. The city also has the option to deny government access to land and await a federal judge's decision.

Check back for more details from Monday's march in San Antonio and other events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Norma Martinez can be reached at Norma@TPR.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1.
Bonnie Petrie can be reached at Bonnie@TPR.org and on Twitter at @kbonniepetrie.
Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.
Fernando Ortiz Jr. contributed to this report.