MLK celebrations begin in St. Pete

Hundreds gather for Sunday block party
Posted at 11:21 PM, Jan 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-15 23:21:05-05

Just days before president-elect Donald Trump has his inauguration, there are still so many questions for minority groups about what the future holds.  But on the eve of MLK Day, many are trying to be optimistic.

The streets were packed to begin early celebrations MLK Day in south St. Pete Sunday.

"I think what's happening now, it's great.  We have more people involved," said Rhonda Burns.

Rhonda Burns was born and raised in St. Pete.  But she and her sister admit that coming home, hasn't always been easy.  For years, the area has struggled.  Now, they're impressed to see all the positive changes with more small businesses, vibrant artwork, and people filling the streets.

"It's wonderful to come back here now.  Because there was a time when you were afraid.  So it's great, interesting, how family friendly it's become," said June Knowles.

On this weekend of celebrating an iconic civil rights leader, that vibrancy is another step in seeing Dr. King's dreams of equality come true.

"I am just so amazed at what the legacy of Dr. King has done for this city, this country, this world," said Burns.

But at the same time, there is some nervousness, at ending the era of our nation's first black president and starting one under a president that hasn't always had nice things to say about minorities.

"It's scary.  It's very scary with what's about to happen," Burns said.

But she's still optimistic, and another family member invokes a familiar expression, from a long, and ongoing, struggle.

"I'm not worried about the new administration because we as a people have overcome all obstacles that have ben placed before us, and we shall overcome this on," said Chris Knowles.

St. Pete will host its annual MLK Day parade on Monday along Central Avenue, starting at 11 a.m.