40th Annual MLK Day Parade and the RTC over the years

2022-01-20T16:15:34-08:00| Categories: Blog| Tags: |

Guest writer: Sumnu Marketing

Monday, January 17, marked the 40th Anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade. This year’s parade theme was, “Living the Dream: Setting New Standards.”

Over the years, Sumnu Marketing has partnered with the RTC to develop innovative and meaningful themes for the team float that keeps everyone looking for “the big red bus.” For example, in 2018, Arlene Newsome, Executive Member of Sumnu Marketing, dressed up as Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks. As a result, parade-goers flocked to the bus to take pictures with “Rosa.”

Other themes for the RTC float celebrated the original 13 Freedom Riders, a group of black men and women who boarded a bus in Washington, D.C., bound for New Orleans to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision desegregating public schools; and The Hidden Figures, the story of mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn who were critical team members in the success of astronaut John Glenn’s historic space flight.

“Every year, we have people coming up to the bus telling us it’s the first thing they look for at the parade to see what theme we’ve come up with,” said Raven McSwain, Marketing Coordinator at Sumnu Marketing.

This year’s theme was “When Black Women Lead” to celebrate women past and present who have been instrumental in the forward progress of this country. Martin Luther King Jr. marched with women who were underpaid and overworked, spoke out for women who were denied equality, and organized for women who were victims of oppression.

“Black women’s leadership isn’t just about their strength and perseverance. It’s about how consistently they show up and fight for the common good. Whether Black women are narrowing the wealth gap, fighting for free and fair elections, or gearing up to assume one of the highest offices in the nation, when Black women lead, we all win.” – Marianne Schnall, ‘When Black Women Lead, We All Win: 10 Inspiring Leaders Show Us the Way.’

Many parade-goers were ecstatic to see poet and Civil Rights Activist, Maya Angelou, on one of the signs, as she is now the first black woman to appear on U.S. currency, the quarter. Black women were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement alongside Dr. King, and he strongly believed that women’s rights are civil rights, which helped shape many of the movements we have and continue to participate in today.



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