Nearly 175,000 people participated in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March on Monday, Jan. 20. The San Antonio march began in 1978 and became a city-sponsored event in 1986.
Participants in the march had the option to park at St. Philip’s College or Freeman Coliseum and take a free ride on the VIA bus to Martin Luther King Drive where the march began.
“(The free bus ride) is a great service for the community members who want to participate,” said Sandy Herrera, a political science major at UTSA and participant in the march.
By 10 a.m, more than 100,000 San Antonio residents had gathered to begin the march. Participants included church members, activists, high school students and college students. Battleground Texas volunteers were also present to register voters during the event.
“I am here representing H-E-B; we are here to show we are proud of our heritage, and we are here to represent the people of San Antonio.
“We are here for the African American community, the Hispanic community, the Asian community (and) everybody from every country that comes here.
“There is a reason and a purpose Martin Luther King Jr. was here: to let everybody know that we all need to be treated equally and fairly, and everybody is allowed to have dreams and hopes,” said Mona Lisa, a participant in the event.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Mayor Julian Castro, US Rep. Joaquin Castro, former Mayor Henry Cisneros and City Councilman Diego Bernal also joined the march.
During the march, there were posters and chants about equality, solidarity among people, working together in creating a better future for the next generation and taking a stand against racism. Spectators waved and cheered on the marchers.
“This is my second year in a row attending this march. I really enjoy it, and I love seeing San Antonio come together as a community to recognize such a brave and historical figure,” said Celia Arsuaga, a communication major at UTSA who participated in the UTSA civil rights exploration trip: “The Exploration: Exploring Social Justice for All.”
The trip allowed students to see historic civil rights monuments across the south.
“I believe through events like this one, people get educated and can help educate others about discrimination and civil rights”
The march ended at the Pittman Sullivan Park where food booths, live music from a gospel choir and health screening booths were located.
“The march was absolutely fantastic and well organized. I really enjoyed it,” said Kathy Langston, a march participant from Washington State.