On Monday, January 16, All Souls participated in the 38th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade. We marched in honor of his life, his legacy, and in honor of civil rights.
All Souls members came together with thousands of groups, marching bands, organizations, families, businesses, and Tulsans under the one, unifying message: Love Conquers Hate.
As we gathered together under the Oklahoma sky at MLK and John Hope Franklin Blvd, in Tulsa, OK, preparing to march through the historic Greenwood district, we asked what marching in honor of MLK meant to our members. The reasons run deep and differ in nature and tradition. But everyone’s reason had one theme in common – love.
“Martin Luther King Day is a true holiday. Marching in the MLK parade is a tradition in our family. Without him, our family would not be possible.” – Tony
“This is my first time marching with All Souls and I’m here to promote unity, love, and coming together as a community.” – Shemika
“This is our first time marching together as a family with All Souls. We are here to send a signal of unity through love. We are awake and aware. We are standing watch for love and equality for everyone.” – Elaine
“It’s amazing to have so many people march in the MLK parade. The numbers of people show that we are not alone. Sometimes people feel like they are alone and coming together like this shows us that we are not alone.” – Shawna
“This is just wonderful to me. I woke up thinking about King and was listening to his speeches this morning. Coming here and seeing such a mixed group of all these beautiful people celebrating him is so special.” – Floretta.
“It’s so rewarding to see this parade all come together. I helped build the float and to see it go through the parade is awesome. I’m happy that my contribution of time and effort is a part of bringing so many people together.” – Austin
“Seeing all of these messages of “Love Conquers Hate” is great! We know in our hearts this is how we conquer hate – with love. It makes me ask, “what if?” What if we do conquer hate with love? All these people together is what love looks like. It’s fun. It’s community.” – Yadennee
“I’m here because I want to be involved and I want my daughter to grow up being involved.” – Berkeley
“Love Conquers Hate is a true statement. I believe love is the only thing to dispel darkness. Into the darkness we bring light.” – Jane
“I worked really hard on my sign and it was important to me that I carried it in the march. I’m grateful for MLK because without him I wouldn’t have all of my friends.” – River
“Through MLK’s work and living thoughtfully through loving discourse, I have the right to marry who I love and women have the right to make decisions about their bodies. It’s important to be here and to celebrate MLK together.” – Jeffery
“I’m here to spread the love and show that we care about everyone and anyone.” – Isaac, Sr. in high school
“Every single move we make is essential in working toward the world we want. It’s our tradition in our family to march in the MLK parade and it shows our daughters that this is important and they are a part of it. Every little bit counts toward the bigger picture.” – Margaritte and Mykey, Millie and Simone
The annual parade is organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Society. Since 1978, the Commemoration Society has provided leadership development, civic engagement, and opportunities for artistic expression to Tulsans and offers scholarships to high school graduates who strive to achieve Dr. King’s dream.
More than 300 floats were in the parade and ranged from 918 motorcycle clubs to the Oklahomans for Equality rainbow flag to a mountain with MLK’s likeness beaming from the side. All the floats were inspiring and we were happy to bring our church on wheels. As we marched, we belted out in song – the crowds singing right along with us. We danced in the street. We held hands and gave hugs and high-fives. We came together, as one, and in love.
Special thanks to all of our volunteers who built the float, who donated their time, energy, and money, to our youth for creating incredible signs, and to all who marched with us. You make All Souls special. Thank you.
See the rest of the photos on our Facebook page and give us a like while you’re at it! 🙂