WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is meant to honor and remember a civil rights hero who paved the way for change and racial equality in America.
Community leaders, politicians and dozens of residents line Castle Street Monday to honor and celebrate King's life and achievements.
This year, there is a record number of groups marching in the parade, but there is some concern over some groups who have decided to enter, including the Stop Titan, America Group and Occupy Wilmington. Some worry that with those groups, the focus of the parade might become a bit too political.
Still, others believe that the motivation behind the groups align with some similar passions that King felt strongly about.
"Stop Titan wants change, and Occupy Wilmington wants change, so we are embracing those organizations to come out and join us on the march on Monday," said Hollis Briggs, chairman of the MLK Celebration Committee.
But, regardless of age, race or ethnicity, people came together Monday as one to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message and legacy.
Briggs says when the parade began 10 years ago, there were just 15 entries, and the entire duration of the parade lasted for 18 minutes.
This year, there are more than 120 entries, with an estimated duration of two and a half hours.
Local residents feel events like this parade help portray King's principles of leadership and unity. It has been decades since King's most memorable "I Have a Dream" speech, and many feel it will take decades more before America becomes a nation in which people are "not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Organizers said they hope to move the parade next year closer to the central business district of downtown Wilmington.
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