Parades honoring Martin Luther King Jr. will commence next week for the national holiday. Right now, they’re gearing up for one in Arlington, Texas, that gives six surrounding counties “a chance to march and come together.” Naturally, as governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott has been named honorary grand marshal and will ride with his family in the parade. But because he is a white Republican, the local NAACP chapter isn’t feeling the message of unity and wants the invite rescinded.
In a statement, the Arlington chapter of the NAACP said:
"As we review his career and public service, it is fair to say that Greg Abbott has done more to damage and undermine African-American and Latino civil and voter rights, educational opportunities and economic empowerment than any other modern-day Texas governor.”
On Twitter, the chapter stated its desire to oust the governor:
In an e-mail, the NAACP chapter said it isn’t officially boycotting the parade if Abbott is present, but offered support for those who will.
Other civic leaders, including minority activists and the pastor of a Dallas megachurch, Frederick D. Haynes III, are joining the Abbott protest. The pastor said, “If I was in town, I would go to the parade and invite others to join me to picket and to protest peacefully the governor's presence, but most of all his policy. But since I'm not going to be there, I did not think it was fair to call for that kind of activity."
Representatives for the MLK parade said “a lot” of the criticism is coming from “the minority community activists.”
However, Kyev Tatum, a leader of a Christian conference in one of the counties represented, is taking a different approach:
"Dr. King would see this as an opportunity to love on the governor. Because we recognize when you love on people, it changes hearts, it changes minds, it changes attitudes."
But for the Arlington NAACP, it’s full steam ahead. They’ve planned a #TakeBackMLKDay town hall meeting to complain that Abbott has hurt their community with stricter voter ID laws and crack downs on sanctuary cities.
The governor has sense defended himself and plans on being a part of the “worthy celebration:”
H/T Dallas News