News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Texas News

Arlington MLK Parade That Faced Pushback Over Abbott Is Canceled

The annual MLK Jr. parade in downtown Fort Worth has been free of controversy, unlike the new event planned for Arlington.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram archives
The annual MLK Jr. parade in downtown Fort Worth has been free of controversy, unlike the new event planned for Arlington.

The region-wide parade to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday in Arlington has been canceled.

The City of Arlington declined to issue a permit for the event, after organizers "failed to meet event planning and security-related funding requirements," according to a statement from the city.

"A permit is required for parades on public streets, public parks or other outdoor spaces owned by the City. The organizers of Monday’s scheduled Toyota North Texas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade have not provided the required payment to cover the City’s personnel and equipment costs for traffic management and event security, as required by the City’s Special Events Ordinance," the statement continues.

City Manager Trey Yelverton said the city has “been accommodating and there was a final requests and that request was not fulfilled,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

“There is a significant burden and we have to be sure that burden is not borne by the taxpayers,” he said. “When we came down to four days before the event was supposed to take place and the costs burdens had not been met we had to cancel the event.”

Event spokesman Winsor Barbee told the Star-Telegram that the parade cost about $250,000, but the group was about $60,000 short after some sponsors pulled their funding because of the potential for a boycott.

Organizers appealed the decision, but they're not optimistic.

Abbott's involvement

Earlier this week, local activists and organizations criticized the event for enlisting Gov. Greg Abbott as honorary grand marshal. 

Dominique Alexander from the Next Generation Action Network said he was shocked when he heard Abbott was given top billing at the festivities.

“We will not tolerate this, and we call for an effective boycott of the North Texas Martin Luther King Parade,” Alexander said, calling the decision an “insult to the black community.”

The Arlington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said Abbott’s inclusion, “stings with hypocrisy.”

“It’s a shame that some are politicizing what should be a unifying event,” said Ciara Matthews, deputy communications director for the governor’s office.

Plans this weekend

Other festivities that are part of the four-day celebration will still go on as scheduled. The city encourages people to attend the events detailed on its website.

Christopher Connelly contributed to this report.

Photo: Fort Worth Star-Telegram