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Arlington denies permit to MLK parade that was to feature Gov. Abbott

13 January 2018

The parade was presented as an opportunity for residents across North Texas to celebrate the MLK holiday together - particularly those whose hometowns don't have their own events.

The city of Arlington has denied a permit for a planned Martin Luther King Jr. parade that drew controversy when Gov. Greg Abbott was given a featured role as honorary grand marshal.

"There is a significant burden and we have to be sure that burden is not borne by the taxpayers", he said. We're talking about a whole lot of kids who are going to be mad. "This event lacked integrity from the beginning".

The city, in a statement, says they notified organizers Thursday and had given several deadline extensions.

If the organizers tried to have the event anyway, they wouldn't have bathrooms or seating, he said.

NAACP Arlington Chapter President Alisa Simmons said the chapter was originally gathering Thursday night to plan a protest for the parade Monday. "We can not have a governor with the practices and beliefs of Abbott representing Martin Luther King".

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Their list of grievances includes Abbott's defense of congressional and statehouse district maps that federal courts found to be intentionally discriminatory against minorities.

The local NAACP also condemned Abbott for backing the state's voter identification law, which courts have repeatedly struck down and deemed discriminatory.

"Dance groups were excited about coming here to perform", Barbee said. She said the parade's organizers didn't even know if they wanted the show to go on.

"NAACP protesting something with MLK in the name of it on MLK day?"

"It's important to hold the parade on Martin Luther King Day because that's the day the country celebrates the efforts and work of Martin Luther King", said Roderick Miles, coordinator of the parade for the Greater Fort Worth Martin Luther King Jr.

City Manager Trey Yelverton told the Star-Telegram that the city has "been accommodating and there was a final request and that request was not fulfilled". "Day calls us to recommit ourselves to putting inclusion and service at the center of our civic lives", said San Diego City Council member Chris Ward.

Arlington denies permit to MLK parade that was to feature Gov. Abbott