Many people were given the day off from work, and students were off from school. High school bands, cheerleaders and community members met at the downtown square for a prayer and poem reading.
Following the ceremony, everyone walked a few blocks south to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
East Texans marched together proudly. At the church, the Texas College Choir sang beautiful songs. State Representative Matt Schaefer and Congressman Nathaniel Moran gave speeches honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Today means freedom, a time to come together, community and service,” said Jasmine Cobb, parade attendee.
Cobb said it’s great to see East Texans come together and support this day.
“I’m excited, it is good to be back out in the community after you know COVID and kind of you know sheltering in our homes and so it is good to be here with the community,” said Cobb.
“Martin Luther King, he paved the way for all of us to be together and I am so glad to witness the legacy he left behind for each of us to follow,” said Cobb.
One of the organizers shared what the event means to him.
“This will be my 30th year of doing this and it is just always a special feeling seeing all of the different folks out here and all of the support from across the community,” Anwar Khalifa, member of Tyler Together Race Relations Forum.
He said this holiday is meaningful for him.
“The day is all of us getting together saying ‘Hey we are all one,’ you know Martin Luther King looked at us as all people, not what color we were, not religion we were,” said Khalifa.