Hundreds Gather For Unity March In Spokane, Despite Recent Bomb Scare
by Kelsey Watts, KHQ Local News Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
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
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
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
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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