TAMPA, Fla. - Due to the pandemic, MLK Day celebrations look different this year as there won’t be any in-person celebrations or parades like years past. However, the changes and lack of festivities are bringing attention to the National Day of Service aspect of the holiday as those in the community look to find different ways to give back and honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
While many events across the Bay Area have been canceled, that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening at all. The city of Tampa has decided to reschedule their MLK Day celebrations for later this year.
Their parade has been postponed until June 19, as they plan to combine MLK Day celebrations with their Juneteenth celebrations later in the summer.
In St. Petersburg, the show must go on, just not in-person. The city will still have their MLK Dream Big parade, except this year, it will be virtual. The parade starts at 11 a.m. and can be streamed by going to www.MLKdreambig.com.
The parade that’s usually held in Lakeland on MLK Day, along with Plant City’s annual parade and festival, has also been canceled. Plant City has decided to postpone its festivities until April 3.
The annual breakfast and parade that’s usually held in Clearwater won’t happen Monday either. However, Clearwater’s branch of the NAACP plans to hold a virtual event at 1 p.m. Monday featuring guest speaker U.S. Rep. Val Demings who will pay tribute to Dr. King. That event can be streamed at clearwaternaacp.com/mlk-jr-day-2021.
While so much has had to be canceled as a result of the pandemic, some events did still happen over the weekend, such as the We Have A Dream 2021 MLK Expo in St. Pete.
The event hosted over two dozen Black vendors who were selling different products and offering different services to help those with ideas and dreams have the tools they need to make those dreams a reality.
On Saturday, Tampa‘s University Area CDC and over 100 volunteers rolled up their sleeves, cleaned up the streets, and added new life to Tampa’s Uptown University Area in honor of MLK Day.
The holiday is also considered a National Day of Service and is the only federal holiday the specifically encourages people to go out in the community and give back.
In light of this, organizers encouraged others to get out in the community Monday and make a difference to celebrate and pay tribute to Dr. King.