America’s oldest and largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade to be held in Miami
Free public event and Family Festival honors and advances Dr. King’s legacy
Recognized as the most influential figure in the U.S. Civil Rights movement, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored annually for his work as an advocate and leader for economic development and equal rights for minorities.
On January 15, 2024--Martin Luther King, Jr. Day national holiday--join thousands in Miami’s Liberty City for a celebratory parade and day of festivities for the entire family.
This year’s theme is “Transforming the Dream,” which celebrates the 61st anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and advocates for taking nonviolent action toward achieving equality, justice, and change for all. The parade Grand Marshal is mental health advocate, Dr. Delvena Thomas.
Beginning at 11 a.m., the 2.5-hour parade takes place along NW 54th Street on a route from NW 10th Avenue to NW 32nd Avenue that follows the sacred ground Dr. King once travelled during his frequent visits to Miami. The festivities continue until 6 p.m., at a Family Festival in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park with live music, dance and theatrical performances, a crafts marketplace, food vendors, and children’s activities.
This year is slated to be bigger than ever. Miami’s best and brightest young performers will be bringing their talents to the street during the parade, illustrating that although times change, traditions will always bring our community together.
Local politicians, police, fire and rescue departments, parks and recreation, community leaders, state representatives, media outlets, business owners, entertainers, labor groups, historians, volunteers, and corporations come together with the community to celebrate the events, co-founded in in 1977 by the late Dr. Preston Marshall and current Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Festivities Committee President, Ladi Jenkins.
|Ladi Jenkins is the quiet force behind remembering|
|Ladi Jenkins: Preserving MLK’s Vision: Miami activist has championed MLK parade, festival, and spirit since 1977 Miami -- Ladi Jenkins, an elegant force for good in Miami’s Black community, is the epitome of MLK’s vision for virtuous, non-violent change and inspiration to eradicate the scourge of poverty, racism, and violence. Jenkins has served as the President of The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Festivities Committee since the death of its founder, Dr. Preston Marshall. With Marshall, Ladi was instrumental in producing the first MLK parade in 1977--8 years before it was declared a national holiday. Over the course of 46 years, she has worked tirelessly with community leaders and organizations to present Role Model Scholarships, holiday breakfast banquets, multicultural theatrical series and an inclusive family festival that spotlights a diverse culture & features arts programming and entertainment experiences that honor, promote & unify civic pride & engenders commitment to cultural education, growth & development. |
Ladi’s strengths and acumen for building strong relationships throughout South Florida is rooted in her broad-based business experiences in social, economic outreach, counseling, decision information research, human resources management, and client services. As an entrepreneur in the late 1970s, she built and directed the Ladi Jenkins Preschool Academy & Golden Slippers Tech childcare services that provided exemplary child care to children, ages 6 weeks-6 years, of low-income families. For more than a decade, Ladi worked with state and local agencies to develop successful learning center curriculums for HRS Social Workers and clients involving assertiveness training, anger management, and negotiation skills development. and to design responsive training modules for case management skills, workshop planning & Coordination. She honed a distinctive ability to build coalitions that achieved lofty goals. When asked why she has lived a life so deeply and unwaveringly dedicated to bringing about good for others, ever humble, Ladi, who is also an ordained minister, replies, “The Bible teaches us that we are blessed to be a blessing. Dr. King paid the ultimate price for his service. Those of us who are here must find our voice--and expend the time--to advocate for those who have yet to grasp their individual value and potential, and work to anchor Dr. King’s dream for freedom, justice, and equality for all people. Today, more than ever, our fragmented world needs this love and hope.”
For more information about the MLK Holiday Parade & Family Festival and the organization’s outreach programs, go to www.mlkparadeand festival.org.
About the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Festivities Committee, Inc.:
Formed in 1985, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation headquartered in Miami, FLand committed to celebrating and expanding the grand vision of freedom, justice, and equality for all people by annually commemorating Dr. King’s uplifting message of virtuous, non-violent change, and providing a dynamic, accessible forum for empowering education that inspires personal and societal transformation.
The organization is devoted to living and sharing the tenets of love that Dr. King unwaveringly taught, and in so doing, envisioned eradicating the scourge of poverty, racism, and brutality so that a new generation might wholly thrive in the light of prosperity, impartiality, and peace.
Dr. Delvena Thomas to serve as 2024 Parade Grand Marshal
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Dr. Delvena Thomas is a practicing board certified Doctor of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Thomas is a consulting psychiatrist for the National Football League.
Dr. Thomas is the owner of DRT Behavioral Services located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It is a full service mental wellness office with spa.
In private practice, Dr. Thomas provides individual therapy services to address numerous concerns such as performance issues encountered by athletes, sexual dysfunction, addiction treatment, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and sleep disorders. Her services include medication management, individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy. In addition, she has presented to large groups on topics such as stress management and conflict resolution. Dr. Thomas facilitates group processing for companies in need of revamping work climates.
A dynamic practitioner, her range of experiences is broad. In addition to the seven years she worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Dr. Thomas has been an active member of the US Army Reserves since 2003 achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Her active tours include a mission to Baghdad, Iraq in 2007 in which she was a treating psychiatrist for the short-term stay facility at Camp Liberty. In 2010, Dr. Thomas deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan to work as the ‘Officer In Charge’, or OIC, of a combat stress unit that provided mental health care for soldiers stationed in the southern region of Afghanistan. She deployed to Kuwait for six months in 2014.
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