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Fort Worth Marks MLK Day, Coming Together Across Racial Tensions

There were Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations all across North Texas on Monday, including in Fort Worth, a city marked by racial tensions in recent weeks. NBC 5 spent the day there hearing about people's concerns and their hopes.

There was celebration in Fort Worth, but also remembrance of what's happened on those streets both long ago and today.

Money Culton attended the city's MLK parade.

"It's something new every day, and I'm just waiting for it to change," Culton said.

Many in the crowd watching the parade saw racial motivations in the recent arrest of a black Fort Worth woman and her teenage daughters by a white officer. The incident was caught on camera and sparked major controversy.

"Racism is one of those things that nobody wants to touch," said parade attendee Quantence Walker. "Black people say it's happening and white people say it's not happening. At some point in time we all have to come together and unify. We have to address that there's a problem, and once we address there's a problem we can move on from it."

On the Near South Side of town, music and art offered a way to begin those hard conversations.

"We're going to span the whole wall," said artist Katie Murray.

She created a mural covering a wall on West Magnolia Avenue with dreams. Folks in the community wrote their dreams on a chalk board and Murray added them to the wall.

The messages included a young man's hope to be a police officer and Jonathan Morris' wishes for a more inclusive Fort Worth.

"In order to grow and be more inclusive we've got to be intentional," Morris said. "We've got to be thinking about how we make for a more diverse, better Fort Worth, better community and a better America."

It was a chance for anyone to add their voices to Dr. King's central dream that's always a work in progress.

"Today, we see artists, we see people, a community of mixed backgrounds and demographics, and that's exactly what the dream is," said Fred Willis. "We're working toward it. We're still working toward it."

Every dream starts with one person, and you have to name it to reach it.

"I feel like it's something to aspire to," Murray said. "If we don't have dreams, then what are we living for?"

Murray plans to continue adding dreams onto the mural, hoping people passing by while stop to think and talk about what they see.

Tensions Continue

There was also a reminder of the city's tensions outside the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo Monday. Supporters of Jacqueline Craig, the mother arrested in the viral video, picketed outside. They're calling for a boycott of the event and other Fort Worth businesses until there are harsher consequences for the officer, and charges dropped against the Craigs.

Day of Service

Meanwhile, people from nearly 50 Fort Worth churches chose to honor MLK Day through a day of service. More than 400 volunteers fanned out in the community.

NBC 5 caught up with one group at University Christian Church, where they were packing meals for "Kids Against Hunger." Supplies for more than 10,000 meals will be sent to children in need.

Volunteers also took the time to reflect on Dr. King's message of unity.

"Martin Luther King was a great guy, and that we need to do good back to the community because he did good to us," said 10-year-old volunteer Addison Hinckley.

The Rev. Dr. Melinda Veatch added, "Every time something happens, we look at it and go, 'Oh.' We need to change that. But the deal is, it doesn't change that way. What changes is ongoing practice, ongoing relationship, ongoing coming across racial lines."

The volunteers began their day with a worship service bringing together people from different congregations, neighborhoods and backgrounds.

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