Mesa MLK parade co-founder: Race relations improving, ‘but there’s still racism’

Jan 20, 2015, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:00 am
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LISTEN: John Goodie, Mesa MLK committee member

The nation celebrates the life of Martin Luther King Jr. this week at a time when the country is dealing with marches and protests once again.

MLK marches and parades across the Valley on Monday were all peaceful.

“We started out at the home of one of our committee members — 20 of us — and that was the first official Mesa MLK celebration in 1987,” said Mesa MLK committee member John Goodie, one of the founders of the Mesa parade.

Now, well over a thousand people show up for festivals, parades, dinners and other MLK-related events in the East Valley.

But recent incidents have the nation protesting again.

“I’m a product of the early ’50s. I remember the black and white restrooms, and I remember the black and white water fountains,” Goodie said.

The MLK follower said he remembers lynchings, murders and how several areas of society were segregated.

“Race is a very difficult subject to discuss. A lot of folks are in denial,” Goodie said. “There’s still racism. Things have gotten a lot better … but there’s still racism.”

As seen in recent events in Ferguson, Miss., and New York, some of the anger and outrage lets people know that things can get out of hand, he said.

“We need people in leadership to stand out front when injustices happen,” he said. “We just need people with good understanding, reasoning and ability to talk — not shout, but talk … and work through it.”

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Mesa MLK parade co-founder: Race relations improving, ‘but there’s still racism’