Ralph Green lost his left leg in a Brooklyn, N.Y., drive-by shooting when he was 15 years old, but that didn’t stop him from traversing three miles on crutches during the Martin Luther King Jr. Marade on Monday.
“It’s definitely important to be here. We’re remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Green, 42. “We’re here to promote awareness of equality.”
Green was one of tens of thousands of people who participated in Denver’s 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Marade. Marchers sang and waved placards as they wound their way down Colfax Avenue. Some people rode in motorized wheel chairs and many elderly people and small children joined in as well.
A full day of events began at City Park where dignitaries including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock spoke and prayed. If it hadn’t been for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hancock said, he never would have made it out of his childhood home in the Five Points neighborhood to become mayor.
“Act like you’re heirs of the great dream,” implored Hancock, who said he was inspired and a beneficiary of King’s life and actions. “He stood in the gap for me. He stood in the gap for you.”
The program began near the “I Have a Dream” monument in City Park. Flowers encircled a small sitting area for speakers, pastors and politicians at the park. The purple carnations recalled King’s favorite color. Tiny white flowers represented peace, said Shyretta Hudnall, a member of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission.
Lisa Ward tirelessly held a large poster of King above her head as she listened to speeches. She also wore a T-shirt emblazoned with King’s image. She was surrounded by family members and friends.
“I feel joyful,” Ward, of Denver, said. “We all came together,”