• May 25, 2020

Hundreds participate in BCCO’s MLK Freedom March, Brunch - Odessa American: Local News

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Hundreds participate in BCCO’s MLK Freedom March, Brunch

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    As songs fade in and out from the crowd, Yolanda Swoops, who helped organize the Freedom March, and 15-year-old Bra'dyn Brooks sing the start of the next song, "We Shall Overcome", as they pass by Blackshear Elementary Monday afternoon. Over 200 people marched from the Southside Senior Center to the Woodson center in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

Posted: Monday, January 20, 2020 5:46 pm

More than 200 people lined up outside of the Southside Senior Activity Center to prepare for this year’s Black Cultural Council of Odessa Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom March.

Attendees wore jackets and hats as the weather averaged a 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Those attending included local church congregations, members of the Permian High School football team, West Texas Shout cheerleading, community members and pastors. The Freedom March was a part of the multi-event Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration that the BCCO puts together each year.

BCCO Board member Marie T. Harris held a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and told marchers to sing while they walked. Marchers sang, “We Shall Overcome” while walking the half mile from the Southside Senior Activity Center to the Woodson Community Center.

“The march means carrying on what Dr. King had started.” Harris said. She had a knee replacement a year ago and said she would march regardless.

“Dr. King marched for me,” she added. Harris spoke of the legacy that Dr. King left for the youth and says that a part of that legacy is encouraging the youth to get their education.

BCCO member Jo Ann Davenport Littleton said this year’s theme was to “Keep Moving Forward.” She mentioned the BCCO and the minority community in Odessa as a whole has a lot of positive events going on, and after thanking the community for their support of the march, Davenport stated that she’s ready to move forward to Black History Month.

At the end of the march, the Odessa Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority held a dance and candlelight vigil.

The dance was made up of middle and high school students who all participated in last year’s Juneteenth Pageant. They danced to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, “I Have a Dream” speech.

Maisha Morris, 30, helped choreograph the group of young dancers. She’s been dancing professionally for past 10 years in Los Angeles and New York.

“We came together and talked about the dreams that we have and how we can make those happen.” She said.

Morris is from Odessa and said she knows what it feels like to chase a dream and she shared those dreams with the younger dancers. Morris said that she wanted to show storytelling through dancing.

“We explored those thoughts and started putting movement together intentionally into the words,” Morris said.

The BCCO events started on Friday and Saturday with the second MLK Showcase Basketball Tournament, and on Sunday, the Rev. Christopher C. Moore of New Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Houston led a Gospel celebration.

Many pastors and reverends were in attendance to show their support for the events.

Monday morning before the march, more than 120 people attended the inaugural King Brunch in the Odessa Regional Medical Center community room. A pastor blessed the food before attendees lined up to grab a plate.

The Rev. Windsor Archie, 50, of Marlin, stood in front of the attendants and the brunch attendants saying, “I feel honored to be the first to speak at the king’s brunch. Everyone else spoke at the king’s breakfast.”

“It is efficient and effective for our community, especially a black community to uphold what Martin Luther King started,” Archie added.

He spoke of his younger years attending Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. events saying that most attendants back then were African American and said that, “The blessing that we have now is that there are multiple racial participants. All races of people coming together.”

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