When Miami-Dade County residents celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, Rep. James Bush III will lead official events honoring the beloved civil rights leader.
The nonprofit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Festivities Committee selected Bush to serve as grand marshal of the Monday celebration, which includes the 45th annual MLK Parade — the county’s longest-running parade — in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood.
Bush’s selection is fitting. The Opa-locka Democrat, who represents House District 109, is a former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights organization King founded one year after the 1956 Montgomery bus boycott.
In a statement, Bush called his selection “a privilege and honor” and said he looked forward to further honoring King, whose funeral he attended as a young man. That experience, he said, inspired him to follow in King’s footsteps.
“I made it a part of my life’s mission to honor and continue to keep the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King alive for everyone whenever possible,” said Bush, a longtime participant of the event. “The continued teaching about the life and legacy of Dr. King allows for ongoing understanding and unification of the community. This is also what I strive to accomplish daily for my community.”
The day’s festivities will begin with an 8 a.m. 5K run and fitness walk at the MLK Plaza Metrorail station. Runners should arrive for registration between 6:30 and 7:45 a.m.
The parade is scheduled to commence at 11 a.m. It will run for eight miles on Northwest 54th Street, which King traveled during visits to Miami, between Northwest 10th and 32nd avenues.
More than 100 entrants will participate in the 2½-hour-long procession which is to include corporate floats, police and military units, high school and college marching bands, dance and drill teams, equestrians, classic and exotic cars, motorcycles, historic Miami-Dade transit vehicles, trade unions, community groups, and federal, state and local officials.
Then, from noon to 5 p.m., the 2022 MLK Holiday Family Festival will take place at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, complete with live music, dance, theater, games, sport and physical challenges, a marketplace for vendors of various goods and, of course, a food corner where attendees can sample different cuisine, including soul food, creole and traditional Caribbean and African dishes.
Bush is an advisory board member of the MLK Parade and Festivities Committee. The board also includes Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, state Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., former state Sen. Dwight Bullard, Miami-Dade School Board members Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall and Steve Gallon, and Miami-Dade Commissioners Oliver Gilbert III and Kionne McGhee.
Miami-Dade Commissioners Keon Hardemon and Jean Monestime are the event’s co-chairs.