January 25th, 2011

Dear Houston: MLK Parade Times Two

Dear Houston,

What’s up with Houston having two MLK parades?

Just curious, not rayciss,

The Heights

Dear Mike,

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pacifist bridge builder that stood for equality, unity and colorblind justice, taken from us much too soon. So, it’s only fitting that the organizers of the two Houston MLK Day parades, the Black Heritage Society and the MLK Grande Parade, once again celebrated the day with stubbornness and petty infighting over a parade permit. Yeah…I don’t get it either. At this point, it’s become sort of a Houston tradition and the feuding over celebration timeslots has come to be expected, but that makes it no less embarrassing.

It’s like your fat Uncle Steve’s habit of drinking too much schnapps at your annual Super Bowl party and taking his shirt off to make his famous 7-layer dip. You still want to have the party, but because you kowtowed to unruly behavior the first time, you’re stuck with no precedent of demanding order or chest-hairless guacamole. Don’t lick the spoons. Yep…it’s just like that.


I keep enabling the immaturity of the BHS and Grande with coin flips for timeslots and other sophomoric crap, and now it’s assumed that their games are the norm. This year, when Grande was given the 2 p.m. timeslot, they just couldn’t stop playing “Quit Hitting Yourself” with the BHS, and scheduled attention-siphoning events during the hours of the morning BHS parade. The NAACP is sticking with a “more-parades-the-merrier” stance, but when those parades are polarized by paltry bickering and that sort of blatant one-upmanship, the organization is just playing the role of the frustrated mother giving her children an endless supply of candy so they’ll quit throwing a fit in Target. Mama’s got a headache. The real losers in the yearly standoff aren’t the organizers that chose heads over tails, but the people wanting to take part in the spread of Dr. King’s message of acceptance.

Think of the benefits of coming together on this one, pooling resources, creating synergy and ditching the uncooperative attitudes. Shiela Jackson Lee, Charles Stamps, Ovide Duncantell etc.- meet Chris Atwood, marketing and public relations director for Pride Houston. Sure, sects of the LGBT community in Houston have differing opinions on the Pride Parade, but its diverse constituents always seem to come together for one helluvah party. When you walk away from my Pride Parade in June, you aren’t left questioning whether you were at the appropriate place to be, or the spot with the most to see or participate in- you leave with a more open mind thinking “Man, that was fun…and really, really gay.” Which is the point. Participants and revelers of Houston MLK festivities may leave with a renewed sense of purpose, but in the back of our minds, we’re still left wondering what could have been, or hoping that we didn’t miss anything at the other guy’s keg party.

So the challenge is on the table. It’s time to rise to the occasion. As it stands currently, most of my inhabitants are expected to take a vacation day or pretend to be sick just to get their MLK on, but you parade organizers aren’t giving us a leg to stand on when we ask for the day off from work. I have a dream, Mike. A dream in which men are no longer judged by the color of their skin, but their ability to quit being babies and play ball. After all, we’re all on the same team.

[Got a question for Houston? Send them to teajones@TheLoopScoop.com.]

— Tea Jones


Chris Atwood — Tuesday, January 25, 2011 1:24 pm

Thanks for the kind words Tea. The Houston Pride Celebration has been unified since its inception in the late 70’s, when Pride Parades were questionably safe at best. We do our best to do what we can for our community to make sure people have at least one day a year where they can truly live their life, be truthful about who they love and be a part of something bigger than just themselves.

Thanks again!

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