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LGBT increases community presence at MLK parade
Event renames street in honor of fallen civil rights activist

by Mark Smith
CHARLOTTE — On Saturday, Jan. 13, more than 90 groups marched in the city’s Martin Luther King, Jr. parade, while thousands of onlookers lined the blocks of a downtown street to catch a glimpse of the festivities.

Kicking off at 11 a.m. and continuing till 2 p.m., the march also marked the official changing of what was once known as Second St. to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Participating in the march were four groups representing the LGBT community: The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Time Out Youth, Unity Fellowship Church and the Human Rights Campaign.

“The parade was about a mile and a half,” said Time Out Youth’s Nicole Hoagland. “It started out at Mint St. and stopped just short of McDowell.”

Step teams and marching bands performed throughout the parade, while onlookers apparently received the LGBT groups much more positively than in years past.
“We had our banners and rainbow flags and NCCJ had placards addressing LGBT issues,” Hoagland recalled. “There were some double takes and people running along ahead of us to read our signs, but nobody said anything.

“In years past people had shouted stuff at us from the street, which made it difficult for some of the youth, but nothing like that happened this time. Overall I’d say it was a very positive experience.”























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