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Petition underway after Baltimore mayor cancels 2018 MLK Day parade

Petition underway after Baltimore mayor cancels 2018 MLK Day parade

BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Late Monday night, a petition was launched to restore the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in West Baltimore. Now, more than 800 people have signed the change.org petition.

The request was launched after Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that instead of the annual parade, the city will host a day of service.

Ian Power and his wife look forward to the MLK Day parade every year. They even come out early and stake out a spot in front of the Rite Aid on Saratoga right along the parade route on MLK Blvd. However, with no parade in 2018, Power's doing everything he can to bring it back.

“It’s one of my favorite events in Baltimore all year,” Power says.

Power's started the petition when he heard the Mayor was cancelling the MLK parade. “It’s always extremely crowded over there,” he says. “Maybe if we said, 'No, I don't want it to go away,' maybe it’s something people would pay attention to.”

It's a loss that's resonating in the West Baltimore community. Norma Hall said: “They’re taking away something they're really looking forward to.”

Kyle Smith runs a food truck in the area, and said “each and every year, my friends and I, we talk about the parade.”

He said: “We love the crowd. I do business because of it. I love it, and I want the parade to stay.”

In addition to the loss of the parade, Smith says it's a big loss of business, too. His food truck sits just off Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, and parade day is always a busy on.

“I’m gonna miss out on that, unfortunately,” he said.

The parade was created at the request of the Mayor's Office in 2001. In 2018, instead of the parade, Mayor Catherine Pugh is requesting a day of service. She’s asking residents to emulate Dr. King’s leadership by volunteering in their communities. Hall said: “I mean, that's fine, too. Why can’t you do both? Have the parade first, then have the day of service.”

Power says both are important.

“Visibility is super important and also something MLK stood for,” he said. “I think it’s important for people to come together for something that will definitely happen and be visible, versus something that you can do if you want to.”

In addition to the petition, there is now a Facebook group organizing a rally outside City Hall on Thursday, December 14 from 5:00-6:00pm to save the parade.

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