Days before an MLK Day parade was planned to go down Ballpark Way in Arlington, the city denied the permit, saying organizers did not have sufficient funds to cover city expenses associated with putting on the event.
“We are down to the last minute and all the requirements for the permitting process have not been met,” said the city’s communications director, Jay Warren. “As a result, we today had to deny their request for a permit for this parade.”
“I have just learned from the City Manager the parade has been canceled,” Arlington NAACP President Alisa Simmons told reporters at 6:30 Thursday night.
The NAACP was hosting a Town Hall meeting to plot a strategy to protest the planned MLK Day parade, because the organization and some community leaders were opposed to the Governor Greg Abbott being tapped to be Honorary Grand Marshal.
“Trust me, I’m glad the NAACP does not have to go protest something with MLK in it on MLK day,” Simmons said.
Parade organizer, Windsor Barbee, said Thursday night she still had hope the event would go on.
“We’ve done a lot of work and pretty much everything is ready for the parade,” Barbee said. “You’ve got people already heading in and we have to know what’s gonna happen because I always tell people when you pull one thing, it becomes a domino effect.”
Barbee said there are bands, floats, and guests, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s son, who were planning to attend.
Warren told NBC 5 there is an appeals process. Organizers have 5 days to appeal and the city would have 5 days to respond after an appeal is filed. It seems unlikely any appeal could go through the process in time for a parade on Monday.
The City of Arlington does have an MLK celebration planned. “Advancing the Dream” starts Friday. It is a 4-day event with cultural activities and a day of community service.
NBC 5 reached out to Governor Abbott’s office for a statement, but so far have not heard back.