Video: Phoenix Celebrates MLK Holiday with annual march and festival

Hundreds of community members, including ASU students, came to downtown Phoenix to celebrate MLK Day

ASU students and community members attended the Martin Luther King march and festival on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. The march began at The Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church  and made its way to Margaret T. Hance Park, where attendees enjoyed food, games and speeches. 

Joel Farias - Reporter: 

On Monday, Jan.15, hundreds of people, including ASU students and the ASU black alumni chapter, gathered in the city of Phoenix to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. The annual march and festival was held downtown and the turnout was large, considering Arizona was among one of the last states in the U.S. to recognize MLK day as a federal holiday. In 1990 Arizona voted against a state-paid King Holiday. Due to this decision, the NFL refused to host the Super Bowl XXVII in the state. Arizona quickly changed their decision in 1992 and officially recognized MLK day in 1993 for the first time

Marquis Scott - MLK Day march coordinator:

The city of Phoenix started off doing a parade down Central Avenue, and at that point and time, they decided to do a march instead. Dr. Gene Blue, of Arizona OIC, who was facilitating those tasks called upon me through Emmett Boyd to ask if I would be the march coordinator. I want to say that’s been 15 plus years or so. My son was a little cat at the time and now he’s about to be 21 years old. So, it’s been a minute. 

Joel Farias:

People gathered to eat food, hear speeches and play games in remembrance of the life of Dr. King and what he stood for. 

Sarra Tekola - Graduate Assistant/Associate:

I think Martin Luther King’s memory has been forgotten. That he was a radical. That he was an anti-capitalist. He was against war. So, I think it’s funny to see the military recruiting because that would not be in MLK’s Legacy. 

January Contreras - Attorney General candidate: 

There are a lot of people in a lot of pain. There are a lot of people who are very nervous about where we’re headed as a nation and whether we’re becoming less unified instead of more unified. And showing up here today, people of all ages, people in wheelchairs, little kids, grandmas to stand up and say we’re all in this together is extremely important. 

Joel Farias: With the State Press, this is Joel Farias. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @joelfariasg on Twitter.   

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