Can chaos be contained? That is the Denver Post’s headline this morning in its story of the city’s historic Marade – a mix between a march and parade that has been held every year since 1982 in memory of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
The normally uplifting and inspirational event took an ugly turn last year when activists from Black Lives Matter stormed the stage and forcibly took over the event’s public address equipment and the crowd jeered Mayor Michael Hancock. “We did not get permission. We did not get permits. We were not invited” declared a BLM protester as he disrupted the formal portion of the event.
One of the event organizers recently revealed that the protests cost the group assembling the marade $57,000 in sponsorships. In addition to organizing the annual marade, the MLK Colorado Holiday Commission also distributes about $20,000 in scholarships each year to deserving students. Dr. Vern Howard, who has chaired the Commission for 20 years, called last years disruptions “disrespectful” and pointed to a “character issue” with the protesters who briefly took over the event. The $57,000 loss represents about half of the Commission’s statewide annual operating budget.
This year concerns have been raised about how the angry political environment triggered by opponents of Donald Trump’s upcoming administration may boil over when mixed with the aggressively defiant BLM movement.
Today’s events kicked off at 9:30 AM with speeches at City Park, and, then, the group marched down Colfax to the State Capitol and Civic Center Park where more tributes and remembrances will be made in honor of Dr. King and his legacy.
Hopefully, unlike last year, events will unfold with the dignity befitting the man we are honoring today, and maybe the Commission will be able to recoup those lost contributions for next year’s events.