AUSTIN (Nexstar) — People around the Lone Star State did not let the COVID-19 pandemic deter them from celebrating the contributions of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday.
Nor the did pandemic deter Texans from participating in the National Day of Service inspired by his work advancing civil rights.
“If we work together, we can reach that mountain top that Dr. King talked about,” Para Agboga with the Austin Area Heritage Council, said. She and her team pivoted to an in-car rally to commemorate MLK Day.
“We’ve had a very interesting year in 2020, we’ve already had some racial justice issues going on that year, we want to make sure that we continue that into this year in terms of ensuring that people know what’s happening, know what we need to do and the work we need to continue to keep our community strong,” Agboga said.
Outside the State Capitol in Austin—which remains closed to the public amid public safety concerns surrounding the presidential inauguration—Gov. Greg Abbott shared a message from the Texas African American History Memorial, stating King represents “equality and justice and freedom for absolutely everybody.”
Recognition of Dr. King took different forms for different people.
The City of Round Rock designated Sheppard Street as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in a council meeting last week, affixing signs over the weekend. According to a city press release, the street was one of the first thoroughfares to connect the downtown area with the city’s predominantly minority neighborhoods.
In Austin, some neighbors admired the murals covering walls around town which celebrate King and other Black cultural icons.
“It’s incredibly powerful,” Andrew Ardis said of the We Rise mural on 12th and Chicon.
Lubbock Police dispatched officers to assist with a neighborhood cleanup in East Lubbock to partake in the day of service.
State Rep. Carl Sherman, D-DeSoto, volunteered with his staff to pick up holiday wreaths from the graves of fallen heroes at Dallas–Fort Worth National Cemetery.
State Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, recorded a prayer with a Frisco City Council candidate.
In one of many virtual events held around the state, former Lubbock City Councilmember TJ Patterson talked about how he broke the council’s color barrier in 1984.
“You let people know what’s on your heart and you keep on moving, and you don’t care what obstacles are in your way, or what kind of river you’ve got to cross, you keep on keeping on,” Patterson said.
Photojournalists Frank Martinez and Julie Karam contributed to this report.