South Florida honors Martin Luther King Jr.

Parade held in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood

MIAMI – Thousands of people filled the streets of Miami's Liberty City neighborhood to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The parade is among the largest in South Florida and stretches more than 20 city blocks.

"I like the cheerleaders, the fire trucks, and the horses," said 7-year-old Linda Covington.

Dozens of middle and high school marching bands stepped through the streets showcasing their talents. Several dance troops also performing along the parade route that ran along NW 54th Street from 12th Avenue to 32nd Avenue on Monday.

Traffic was re-routed in the area as several busy streets were shutdown for the festivities.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez waved from a county fire truck and City of Miami mayor Tomas Regalado waved to the crowd from high atop a city fire truck.

City and county commissioners worked the crowd, waving and shaking hands.

Loud cheers were heard as the grand marshal of the parade rode slowly down the street. This year, the family of Trayvon Martin was invited to kick things off.

"It's very exciting just to see so many people that came out on Dr. Martin Luther King day and also the second inauguration of President Obama," said Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother.

Her teenaged son was killed in early 2012 by George Zimmerman in a shooting that sparked outrage nationwide. Zimmerman claimed self-defense but has since been charged with murder in connection with Martin's death.

There were plenty of characters, too, in and out of costumes that helped to entertain the large crowd under the scorching sun.

Some people brought umbrellas and water to help stay cool.

"We got to stay cool. We're in Miami -- you know, it gets hot down here," said Vicky Covington.

Whether parade watchers have been a part of the parade tradition for decades or showed up for their very first show, there was something to be learned for even the youngest of those on the sidelines.

"I think about when he fought for equality and non-violence and all the things he did for us," said 8-year-old Ariel Henton.

Events were also held in Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, and Pompano Beach.

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