Warm weather greets MLK marchers

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Organizers of the 19th Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative march said more than 300 people showed up for Monday’s event.

Sharna Johnson

More than 300 people joined a Monday march to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. — a show of higher attendance than in recent years.

Marchers, who walked from Potter Park on Upsilon Street to Legacy Life Family Church at Seventh and Main streets, enjoyed unseasonably warm weather, with temperatures near 50 degrees at the event’s start.

“More joined up as we were walking,” said organizer Joyce Pollard, who estimated the crowd was 50 percent larger than last year’s.

Pollard said it was the 19th year for the event in Clovis.

The group, holding a banner that said “Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” walked from the park to the Lincoln-Jackson Family Center, where performances were held for them and refreshments offered.

From Lincoln-Jackson, the group marched east on Grand Avenue, then north on Main Street to the church where services were held commemorating the occasion.

“Our feet are tired but our souls are rested,” Roger Grooms said passionately, his voice echoing through the church as he gave a dramatization of portions of a 1965 speech delivered by King in Montgomery, Ala.

Curry County Commissioner Bobby Sandoval also addressed the crowd, telling of how the march reminded him of the first 30 years of his life spent living in the poorer neighborhoods of the community.

Sandoval said he was raised in the era of segregation and experienced discrimination first-hand.

“I personally believe I am a product of the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., to have come from that to serve as your commissioner,” he said. “Until all of us are free, none of us are free.”

Mayor Gayla Brumfield read a letter from U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, B.J. Choice Sr. delivered the keynote speech and attendees heard the music of Voices of Harmony.

Pollard said every year the march ends at a different location, holding services where it is invited.

The program, sponsored and organized by the Clovis Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, is held annually in honor of the slain civil rights leader’s birthday.