Hundreds Gather For Unity March In Spokane, Despite Recent Bomb - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Hundreds Gather For Unity March In Spokane, Despite Recent Bomb Scare

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SPOKANE, Wash – It's a day of celebrations across the country, as we gather to remember the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, on this 50th anniversary of his "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Since 1984, there's been an annual parade to mark MLK Day in Spokane, but in 2011 a shadow was cast over the event that still lingers today.  A backpack bomb was found along the route before the parade began; it was diffused and nobody was hurt.  But the revelations that followed, about the man who put it there, Kevin Harpham, and his ties to white supremacy are still fresh for a lot of people.

Harpham is serving the maximum penalty of 32 years for his role in the crime, and security along the parade route was particularly tight in 2012.

This year, Spokane Police had a big presence along the route, and supporters are not letting the bomb scare stop them from honoring Dr. King.

"Today is just overwhelming," said Ivan Bush, co-chair of the parade planning committee.  "To have a community come together the way this community has come together, and to celebrate the life and works of one who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us all, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, so it's a proud day."

The celebration began at 10 a.m. Monday inside the Spokane Convention Center, where Mayor David Condon, City Council President Ben Stuckart, and new Police Chief Frank Straub were among the speakers.

"We've been very involved in intelligence gathering to make sure we don't have an issue like we did two years ago," Straub told KHQ.  "But this is really about celebrating Dr. King and his life."

Hundreds of people did just that, joining together in a unity march from the convention center, right past where the bomb was planted in 2011, and on to River Park Square.  Supporters carried flags, and signs saying "We have a dream," and "We all bleed the same color."

"We're out here to support unity and diversity, and everybody coming together," said marcher Stoakley Lloyd.  "We have a lot of work to do to get the world the way we want it, and make sure everybody's taken care of, so we're out to support that."

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