Hundreds march in Orlando MLK parade and Women's March

Participants say both events represent King's dream

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - The streets of downtown Orlando filled up Saturday morning as crowds and marchers participated in the city's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade.

Sirens kicked off the event. Marchers and floats made their way down Orange Avenue. 

Yvonne Vassel watched as the parade went by. She said she was there to honor King's memory and what he represents.   

"It means standing up for your rights. It means fighting in the face of adversity and in the face of oppression to say I'm a person. I'm a human being and I deserve the rights of a human being. The color of my skin doesn't change that," Vassel said.

Crowds lined the streets cheering and waving. Children dashed out into the street to grab candy.

Everyone was there to honor the man who stood for freedom, humanity and equality. 

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the city exemplifies those traits. 

"We embrace diversity, inclusion, fairness -- all the things that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for and I think we're the embodiment of his dream," Dyer said. 

Dozens of men and women dressed in pink and holding handmade signs also participated. They were part of the third annual Women's March.

They joined hundreds of other marchers across the county as they walked for women's rights and equality.

Marcher Kelly Grigsby said their mission echoes King's vision. 

"Dr. King stood for freedom. He stood for freedom of speech and he was well before his time in advancements. I think he'd be very proud of all the advancements, all the groups coming together, marching as one," Grigsby said.

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The marchers and participants said King represents more than just a holiday. They said g=his dream lives on and it is worth fighting for. 

"I think the point of it is that you can never stop fighting for your rights, that, as soon as you get it, there will be someone trying to take it away and that you have to keep up the fight," Vassel said. 

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