Tag Archives: Spokane MLK

Rallying for justice

By Tracy Simmons
Religion News Spokane

Click image for Audio Slideshow - Audio by Rev. Happy Watkins

Sharon Cowan faced the choir, raised her hands in the air and signaled singers to begin. Just like they do every year, the Spokane Community Gospel Mass Choir jump started the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March with its upbeat tempos. It only took moments for the crowd to surround the choir and join in the clapping and singing.

Thousands attend Unity March in Spokane/Tracy Simmons - Religion News Spokane

In 2011 Kevin Harpham, who had ties to white supremacists, tried to detonate a bomb at the Unity March. But that didn’t keep MLK supporters from attending this year’s event, as people came from all over the Spokane area and parts of Idaho to attend. The event drew in about 3,000 people, which, according to the Spokesman, is twice as many as last year.

Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) applauded the attendees for not backing down.

“We came here today to celebrate the best of America,” he said. “And given what happened last year, we also came here to stand up against what has become the worst of America.”

Gonzaga students march for MLK/Tracy Simmons - Religion News Spokane

He said residents don’t want this area to be known as a refugee for close-mindedness and intolerance, but instead as a breeding ground for justice and equality.

Ivan Bush, co-chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, emceed the event and urged the crowd to fight injustices year-round.

“Let’s commit ourselves to extending this day to not just the third Monday of January, but let’s take this day throughout the year and let’s make a difference,” he said.

View photos of this event on our Flickr album.

Police taking extra cautions at this year’s MLK parade

News Release

Wikipedia Photo

This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in downtown Spokane will feature more safety precautions to ensure the safety of people attending the parade as well as those in nearby areas. In addition to the usual enhanced security for events in downtown Spokane, this year’s MLK Day Parade will include the following additional provisions:

  • Citizens will see an increased police presence and will find a uniformed police officer at every intersection along the parade route
  • There will be a command post for emergency responders to monitor event operations.
  • Members of the Explosive Disposal Unit will be on site, to ensure a rapid response to any possible threats
  • Additional behind the scenes measures are being implemented as well

The annual MLK Day march is an opportunity for citizens to speak out against hate, according to a statement from police. The parade will be Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. at the INB Performing Arts Center. Members of the police command staff will be attending and marching in this parade alongside the rest of the community.

The  police have pledged “to do everything in our power to help our community feel safe as well as stay safe at the MLK Day Parade and other events in this area.”