Breaking News
More () »

MLK Commission asking to triple its funds ahead of 2023 March expected to return in person

Planning is underway for the largest MLK March in the country, but the city’s Martin Luther King Commission says it needs additional funding to pull it off.

SAN ANTONIO — The nation’s largest MLK March could return in person to San Antonio.

Planning is underway for the march, but the city’s Martin Luther King Commission says it needs additional city funding to pull it off.

The commission says they’re paying for more than just the main event.

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated year-round, not just in one weekend.

“When you start talking about scholarships, art projects, talking about recognition of community leaders, there are already things that we’re doing additionally,” Jessica Kemp, communications chair for the commission told KENS 5.

The commission says they had to get creative—after the last two marches went virtual due to the pandemic. The 2022 march was canceled just days before it was scheduled to take place.

On average, the march attracts more than 300,000 people.

“We’ve had the largest march in the country now for a number of years, but when you see the contributions we get from the city, it’s pretty much remained the same,” commission chair Dwayne Robinson told KENS 5 after speaking to city council.

The commission states it gets $100,000 in funding from the city. Although they do have sponsors, Kemp says their costs are going up.

“About $110,000 is what it takes to just have the stage for the march,” Kemp said.

On Thursday, three commission members and other speakers made their plea to city council to increase their funding to 300,000.

The volunteer-based organization says that money will help pay for other costs including speakers, logistics such as travel and lodging, and scholarships for students. According to Robinson, $140,000 was given in scholarships to students earlier this year.

Robinson says the commission also had to eat the cost of the stage even though the 2022 march was canceled. A COVID-19 vaccine event was held instead at Pittman-Sullivan Park.

“That’s a tough situation to put a vendor in, and the commission,” Robinson said.

The commission believes holding the march in person will cap off all of the work it does to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.

“It allows us to show the kind of community that San Antonio is. We talk about San Antonio being a loving, family inclusive community, and these are one of the ways that we doe this in a tangible way during the march,” Kemp told KENS 5.

The city will have a budget amendment session before the city council will approve its budget on Thursday, September 15.

Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez told KENS 5 in a statement that he made the request to increase the commission’s budget in April “to increase the capacity of our commission and to attract a nationally-recognized speaker.”

“We must reassert our position as the largest MLK March in the nation and I look forward to finding a way to get increased funding for the March in this budget to not only maintain that status but to set a standard as the largest in our City’s history,” the statement said.

Before You Leave, Check This Out