Tomorrow, Mesa will celebrate Martin Luther King (MLK) Day with a parade and celebration ceremony in downtown Mesa. The leadership and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be remembered Jan. 15 with these events organized by the Mesa Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and Mesa Diversity Office.
The MLK Parade will be from 11 a.m. to noon. The parade will begin at the intersection of Center Street and MLK Way, travel south on Center Street and end at the intersection of Pepper and Center Street. The parade will include Mesa councilmembers, Mesa Police Department, Mesa Fire and Medical Department, marching bands and community leaders and organizations.
“We’re glad to put on this event to celebrate not just Dr. Martin Luther King, but what he stood for,” said John Goodie, this year’s grand marshal, who said he will be riding a horse in the parade. “Then we’ll have a big celebration in front of the Mesa Arts Center.”
Goodie has been a member of the MLK Jr. Celebration Committee for more than 20 years.
The following streets are scheduled to be closed for the parade from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 15:
- Center Street – University to Main Street
- MLK Jr. Way – Drew Street to Centennial Way
- 2nd Street – Centennial Hall Parking Lot to Drew Street
- 1st Street – Centennial Way to Macdonald
- Pepper Place – Centennial Way to Macdonald
All streets should reopen by 2 p.m. Traffic can detour around the parade route by using Main Street, Mesa Drive, Country Club Drive and University Drive.
This year’s celebration is using the theme “Dream Big with S.T.E.A.M. & Change the World.”
“We wanted to get five schools to build a float that has to do with S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and build them in terms of what Dr. Martin Luther King would have done in a two-week competition,” said Angela Booker, also a member of the MLK Jr. Celebration Committee.
Following the parade, join Mayor John Giles for a closing ceremony from noon to 1 p.m. at the Mesa Arts Center’s outdoor Alliance Pavilion Stage. This free program will include music by Cyiza Music Ministry and a spoken word tribute by Tomas Stanton from Phonetic Spit.
Mesa’s annual MLK celebrations were created after residents, in 1996, voted to establish a citywide holiday recognizing the leadership of Dr. King. For more information on the various MLK celebrations, visit www.mesamlk.org.
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at email@example.com.