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Local leaders, businesses reflect on MLK Day impact

Veronica Brezina



A family at the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dream Big Parade. Photos: City of St. Petersburg.

From local officials to organizations supporting businesses and residents, messages were shared across social media platforms Monday, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historical impact. 

The MLK Dream Big Parade.  

A glimpse at what city leaders and others have to say: 

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch took to Facebook to remind residents that he and Grand Marshall Shaquem Griffin would be part of the MLK Dream Big Parade, which started at 11 a.m. 

Former mayor Rick Kriseman wrote on Twitter, “I always loved this day as mayor … the breakfast that brought us together … the energy from those along the parade route … the service activities in our community. St. Pete always honors MLK well. I hope 2023 has been a good one for everyone so far!” 

Councilwoman Deborah Figgs-Sanders wrote on Twitter, “And a child will lead. Never stop telling the story.”


Gwendolyn D. Reese, president of the African American Heritage Association of St. Petersburg, among others, shared details of the 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Awards Event, which took place Monday morning. 

Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete wrote on Facebook, “As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contributions, we remember his tireless advocacy and vision for a more just and compassionate country. This vision arose from his deep faith and was shaped by his embodiment of justice and compassion. His words continue to guide us forward as we strive to become a more peaceful and just people.”

Habitat for Humanity wrote on Facebook, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave us the blueprint for the Beloved Community. Now it’s up to all of us to make it a reality. Learn how Habitat for Humanity works to help dismantle the systemic bias that permeates U.S. home buying, home financing and exclusionary zoning practices, which have prevented generations of Black families from accessing the intergenerational wealth-building potential of homeownership.” 

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority wrote on its social media pages that it is offering free service on multiple routes, the Central Avenue Trolley and the SunRunner on MLK Day to help people commute to the morning parade in downtown. “We are a diverse community, and we want to ensure everyone in our community is represented,” Brad Miller, CEO at PSTA, said in a statement. 


The Tampa Bay Rays team wrote on Twitter, “We honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and reflect on his life’s commitment to justice.” 

Alex Golesh, head football coach of the University of South Florida, quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, writing, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” He then wrote “we must continue to push and embrace change.” 

Many other organizations and individuals shared iconic quotes from King. 

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