North Texas MLK Parade Chose Gov. Abbott to be Grand Marshal. The NAACP's Not Having it.

Flick Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore
A new Martin Luther King, Jr. parade representing five counties in North Texas has selected an honorary grand marshal that, in the words of the Arlington NAACP, "has done more to damage and undermine African-Americans and Latino civil and voter rights ... than any other modern-day Texas Governor."

You guessed it: Governor Greg Abbott will be leading the inaugural Jan. 15 parade to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr. King.

“The Martin Luther King Jr. parade and celebration is a time to reflect on the triumphs, tragedies, and lessons of the past," Abbott told the Star-Tribune. "I am humbled and proud to participate in an event to commemorate the legacy of a brave man and his mark on history."

The Arlington NAACP says the decision "stings with hypocrisy." In a press release, the group clarified that neither their branch nor any other Dallas-Fort Worth NAACP branch are affiliated with the new parade, which is formally called the "Toyota North Texas MLK Parade."

According to the parade's website, it aims to be the largest MLK parade in Texas — which, if we're not mistaken, is a title reserved for San Antonio's legendary parade. To reach this goal, they're inviting businesses from five counties (Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton, Rockwall, Ellis, and Kaufman) to participate. And Greg Abbott.

In its press release, Arlington NAACP lists the many reasons why Abbott is an inappropriate pick for the parade, including his role in supporting redistricting plans that federal courts have deemed racist, in defending voter ID laws also found to be discriminatory, and his refusal to fully fund Medicaid and Child Protective Services — decisions that disproportionally impact people of color.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa chimed in Monday afternoon, backing the NAACP branch.

“Abbott has done everything he can to hold back the advancement of African Americans and people of color in Texas," Hinojosa said in a press release. "In fact, Greg Abbott built his Republican bonafides by destroying the Voting Rights Act and attacking President Barack Obama, our nation’s first African American president."
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