North Texas MLK Parade past point of saving
What was billed as the largest North Texas Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade has now been canceled.
The City of Arlington denied a permit to the parade organizers because they couldn't cover some of the expenses.
Organizers of the North Texas MLK Parade filed an appeal on Friday in a last-ditch attempt to put the parade on. The city denied the appeal the same day.
Arlington denied a permit on Thursday because parade organizers were short $65,000.
“One of the initial criteria they were missing is the sufficient funding for the public safety and the traffic management components that would be a part of the event,” city spokesperson Jay Warren.
Organizers claim sponsors bailed after hearing about a boycott of Gov. Greg Abbott's appearance at the event.
"See people got lost in Gov. Abbott and they never ever really looked at what you are doing to hurt your own community what you're doing to hurt North Texas,” said parade executive producer Windsor Barbee.
“I think it's unfortunate that we ended up with turmoil and controversy happening over what is a day, really a weekend, that should be dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,” Warren said.
But other events scheduled this weekend are moving forward, including a Friday night banquet featuring Martin Luther King III as keynote speaker to honor his father's legacy.
“What my hope is someday we will have community engagement of 100+ million people in this country of 300 million, and we can begin to see dramatic changes in our nation and world,” he said.
King says he welcomes political leaders like governors, mayors and congress members to participate in MLK events.
“But I also think it's hypocritical to participate in what Martin Luther King, Jr. represented when in fact many of the policies that have been instituted do not reflect who Martin Luther King Jr. was,” he admitted.
With the MLK parade in Arlington now canceled, organizers say they're working to move their performers to other parades and events in the DFW area.
Rev. Kyev Tatum, a parade supporter, said he was disappointed in what had happened.
"You don't extend an invitation to everyone and when some of them show up, someone not involved in the process at all decides to shut the whole thing down,” Tatum said.
Those who called for the boycott said they were against the governor's participation because he goes against what Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for.
It’s a bitter taste for those who wanted the parade in Arlington to be a success.
“What they've done has no use for us trying to build bridges to solve the problems that our communities are facing,” Tatum said.
Abbott's office has not responded to requests for comment.