- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2003

Prince George's County residents lined the streets of Landover near FedEx Field yesterday to celebrate the life and accomplishments of a preacher who fought for the civil rights of others and never lost sight of the day when people would be judged for their character and not the color of their skin.
Despite a chilly morning, scores of people turned out for the Ninth Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Living the Dream Festival. Organizers said the event has become the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in the state and draws several thousand spectators each year.
"This is always an excellent event. It's good for the community," said Redell Duke, a senior citizen and president of the Westphalia Civic Association. "The parade used to be held in January, but it was changed to April since the weather is nicer," he said. "It's still symbolic," though, he said, because King was assassinated in April.
"We should celebrate, honor and remember the work of Martin Luther King Jr., who fought for racial justice, economic parity, freedom and democracy for all," said parade and festival co-sponsor Eugene Grant, president and chief executive officer of Global Developmental Services For Youth Inc. in Seat Pleasant. The Prince George's County Police Department was also co-sponsor of the daylong event.
Spectators huddled together along Sheriff Road to watch high school marching bands, which included the Marching Stingers from Fairmont Heights High School and the Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Shortly before the parade began, Bryce Jones, 4 and his cousin, Trevon Tyler, 2 claimed their spot along the route. The two youngsters settled into their matching yellow chairs and waited for the fun to begin. They didn't want to miss the Chapel Oaks Volunteer Fire Department's engine or the succession of vintage cars as they passed by. Bryce's mother, Andrea Jones, said that although she lives nearby, yesterday was her first time at the annual parade.
After the hourlong parade ended, celebrants moved to the grounds of the recently erected $40 million Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex. Different areas of the grounds catered to different interests, such as the African Enrichment and Civil Rights Circle. Gospel music could be heard coming from the Rosa Parks Stage.
Mr. Duke, of Upper Marlboro, commended the Police Department for helping to make the event a success. "They do a great job, and many of them sacrifice their personal time to participate in the parade," he said. "This is a good way for the police to bond with the community."

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