Bahai News -- KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News - Events set stage for MLK march Category: Metro and State

Events set stage for MLK march

By Scott Huddleston
San Antonio Express-News
Web Posted : 01/20/2003 12:00 AM

Quiet reflections and prayers for peace rounded out a day of thought Sunday that will culminate today with action, in what traditionally has been the nation's largest march honoring the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

photo Religious banners representing various religious groups are walked into Temple Beth-El for the 16th annual interfaith service. About 250 people attended the Sunday service.
Gloria Ferniz/Express-News
"We march in San Antonio. We do not parade," City Councilman John Sanders, speaking at an interfaith service, told about 250 people in attendance.

The distinction between parading and marching is important, and has less to do with an absence of floats than the fact that King used marches to achieve social change, Sanders said.

"All marches did not end with refreshments," he said. "Some marches ended with water hoses, and vicious (police) dogs."

But today's march, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Eastside Boys & Girls Club, 3503 Martin Luther King Drive, will represent the best that San Antonio has to offer, Sanders predicted. Last year, a record 50,000 people participated.

"Once again, we will be on the national stage," Sanders said.

The councilman, who is facing a federal bribery charge, was honored for his support over the past year of local activities honoring King.

The focus of Sunday's 16th annual interfaith service was to renew spiritual commitments to peace, love and unity.

"We hope our great creator, using our inspiration, unites our community," Ali Alizadeh, representing the Muslim faith, said during the service.

The service also included readings by Buddhist, Sikh, Baha'i, Hindu and Christian followers, and a message delivered by Barry Block, senior rabbi of Temple Beth-El.

Block spoke of the "superhuman effort" that people such as King have undertaken through time, under extreme risks, to do what they knew was right.

"They did not consider themselves to be heroes," he said.

The nation still has many inequalities and policies that threaten the individual rights of many, including women, ethnic and religious minorities, gays, lesbians and poor people, Block said.

He encouraged everyone to follow the likes of King and others who "left their comfort zones" to make society better.

As many gathered in their Sunday best for the interfaith service, dozens of children were getting their hands dirty with paint and glue, making posters at the Eastside Boys & Girls Club, 3503 Martin Luther King Drive, where today's march is to begin about 10 a.m.

The posters will be used in the march.

Michael Barnes, 13, of Kirby Junior High School, had marched in King's memory before, and looked forward to doing it again.

"He made it so everyone would be equal," Barnes said, while trying to draw the outline of King's face.

Shamarrea Ceaser, 11, said she was making a poster about how "he passed away, but each year we march, and his spirit stays with us."

After dusk, about 25 people gathered for a vigil outside the club late Sunday, in keeping with a tradition King had of gathering in prayer and reflection the night before a march.

"We think this is one of the most important aspects of the march," said Linda Tippins, a volunteer with the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

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