Vehicles make their way down the parade route in 2021 in Temple in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Temple’s annual parade celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. is now canceled following concerns over the spread of highly transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19.

The Temple unit of the NAACP confirmed Thursday that the Monday parade was called off following an emergency meeting Wednesday evening. Despite the cancellation, Temple’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event will still take place.

Bennie Walsh, president of the Temple NAACP, said the parade’s cancellation was a precautionary measure to prevent the virus’s spread.

“We had a couple people who were sick, but we are mainly trying to be careful,” Walsh said. “We talked with the health department and they said, in events like this, eight to 10 folks normally will contract it. So we said we better not take the chance.”

The parade was scheduled Monday afternoon with a parade from Ferguson Park to the Greater Zion Temple Church of God in Christ.

Walsh said Linda Jann Lewis, a cousin of the late U.S. Sen. John Lewis of Georgia, was scheduled to speak at the Temple event. Lewis, also a civil rights activist like her cousin, had planned to talk about the importance of voting rights.

The group has not yet determined if any sort of makeup event will be held in place of the parade at a later date.

Walsh said that people can still celebrate the life and civil rights efforts of King although the parade is cancelled.

Temple Day of Service

Temple spokeswoman Kiara Nowlin said Thursday that the city would go forward with its third annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event.

The event encourages residents to meet at 10 a.m. Monday to the Wilson Park Recreation Center, 2205 Curtis B Elliot Drive, and help clean up litter. The goal of the event is to move Temple closer to King’s vision of a “beloved community.”

City staff will provide volunteers with buckets, trash pickers and reflective vests as they walk the park.

Garage sale canceled

A garage sale fundraiser scheduled Saturday by the Greater Zion Temple Church of God in Christ Women’s Department has been canceled.

The fundraiser was scheduled at the church, 808 E. Central Ave. in Temple.

The event was called off due to COVID-19 spread, according to Sheila L. Berry, secretary for the church’s Women’s Department.

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