ARLINGTON, Texas (CBS11) – The announced regional holiday parade, scheduled for Arlington next Monday, faces a growing wave of opposition, based on the role Gov. Abbott will play in the parade.
Abbott has agreed to be the Honorary Grand Marshal for the Toyota North Texas Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Celebration.
From the initial announcement of Abbott’s slated appearance, North Texas civil rights and community activists joined in on social media campaigns calling for Abbott to opt out of the Grand Marshal role.
“For someone whose policies have darkened all that Dr King fought and gave his life for to have a shining role on this holiday is offensive and hypocritical,” wrote Rev. Frederick Haynes III, leader of Justice for All Coalition.
Haynes, as well as the Arlington NAACP, has called Abbott’s leadership on voters rights, civil rights and protections counter to the King legacy.
The following statement was published by the Arlington NAACP: “ It is fair to say that Greg Abbott has done more to damage and undermine African-American and Latino civil and voter rights… than any other modern day Texas governor. The selection is an insult to the honor of Martin Luther King Jr…”
Mr. Abbott has publicly expressed his plan to attend the January 15 event. It’s hailed as a regional celebration, honoring America’s most noted civil rights leader.
In a statement from the Governor’s Office, Mr. Abbott contends the opposition to his attendance is political. “The parade is an opportunity to celebrate and honor the life and legacy of Dr. King and reflect on the triumphs, tragedies, and lessons of the past. It’s a shame that some are politicizing what should be a unifying event. Governor Abbott’s participation will be focused on the remembrance of a man who made an important mark on history, and he looks forward to attending this event.”
A town hall meeting has been called for Thursday night in Arlington to discuss the campaign to boycott and protest the Governor’s appearance.