When the dust settles on MLK Jr. Drive

San Antonio proudly boasts claim to the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in the nation. The coordination, planning, and desire required to bring together hundreds of thousands of San Antonians out for a 2.75-mile march is no small feat.

And it is no coincidence that the event takes place on the city’s East Side. But for those who call the East Side home, what happens after the march? What happens after the thousands who marched arm in arm return to their jobs, their families and their communities?

The murals that watched over the marchers, many decorated with Dr. King’s portrait and elegant quotations, did not come down once the city opened up Martin Luther King Drive for traffic shortly after noon. The problems that consumed Dr. King — racism, poverty, inequality, among others — did not vanish, and will never vanish, on a single Monday morning.

To see what could come next, we spoke with activists, educators, organizers and students on the East Side, and asked them a simple question:

“What do you want to see happen after the march?”

This is what they told us.

Kevin Shandy, 34, is the branch director of the East Side Boys and Girls Club. When he walks through the crowd outside M.L. King Academy before the march, he can’t go five feet without a handshake, hug or warm hello. This is his community, through and through. For those interested in getting involved, here are the organizations Shandy mentions:

» East Side Boys and Girls Club
» Davis-Scott Family YMCA
» MLK Jr. Commission

Madison Jackson, 17, is a senior at Sam Houston High School, down the road from the marching route. A lifelong resident of the East Side, Madison spoke about the efforts that went into making the march possible.

Natasha Pinnix, 33, is the principal of M.L. King Academy, where the march begins. As the school’s principal for the past six years, Pinnix talks with the confidence of someone who knows how to take care of her students. When she talks about how other can stay involved, her mind goes directly to the needs of her students.

Jason Mims, 64, is a proud Sam Houston high alum and Notre Dame graduate. As the founder of the MIMS Institute, Mims is a regular around the hallways of Sam Houston. When he talks about his community, his mind goes to his students. When he talks about Dr. King, his mind goes to his students. For Mims, what matters is shaping the next generation.

The Article was originally published on When the dust settles on MLK Jr. Drive.

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