University, Lexington community march together on MLK Day

More than 750 people participated in CARE’s third annual parade on Monday, Jan. 21.


Bella Daher, ’22, and Jackie Tamez, ’22, hold their signs for the CARE parade on Monday, Jan. 21. Photo by David Galvez, ’22.

Judy Park

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  • Sawera Khan, ’21, holds her sign for the CARE parade in Lexington on Monday, Jan. 21. Photo by David Galvez, ’22.

  • Zach Christian, ’20, marched in the CARE parade with a Black Lives Matter banner. Photo by David Galvez, ’22.

  • Robin Le Blanc, politics professor at Washington and Lee, was the parade logistics coordinator for CARE. Photo by David Galvez, ’22.

  • Carolina Rubio Regalo, ’22, led marchers in chants. Photo by David Galvez, ’22.

  • Donald LeCompte, ’21, marches in the MLK parade on Monday, Jan. 21. Photo by David Galvez, ’22.

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Despite 11°F temperatures and wind, more than 750 people, including students and professors, marched through the streets of Lexington on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Community Anti-Racism Education (CARE) organized the city’s first MLK parade in 2017 after forming as a group seeking to promote diversity and inclusion.

Robin Le Blanc, a politics professor, is the vice-president of CARE and coordinated the parade.

“I got involved with CARE by attending the first rally we held on Hopkins Green in spring 2016 to show solidarity against white supremacism when the KKK dropped leaflets on local lawns,” she said.

Since then, the parade’s message has expanded beyond racial justice. Parade marshals passed out MLK stickers as well as U.S. flags and LGBTQ pride flags. Signs expressing solidarity for immigrants and women were displayed, and people chanted calls and responses about human rights, democracy and Black Lives Matter.

Ruth Abraham, ‘22, said she marched to send a message of unity.

“I marched today because I wanted to continue the MLK legacy and advocate for rights of the oppressed, so that individuals within the society may be judged based on content of their character and not their gender, identity, race, ethnicity or anything else,” she said.

For Amelia Lancaster, ‘22, it was her first march as well as a first taste of what she saw as active citizenship.

“Out there with all those other people, I really felt like a part of the community here in Lexington,” she said. “I definitely want to do something like this again.”  

Donald LeCompte, ‘21, said he participated to support those who feel marginalized.

“I’m troubled by national dialogue that has focused on exclusivity instead of inclusivity,” he said. “It was a chance for the W&L and Lexington communities to come together and stand up for what’s right.”

Le Blanc said that’s just what CARE wants people to take from the experience.

“We don’t lose anything when we reach out across our differences to dismantle racism and hate,” she said. “On the contrary, we are all better off. I want everyone who comes to go home with love in their hearts, empowered to be a voice for equality and justice for all.”