Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Grand Prairie—The City of Grand Prairie has a history of celebrating diversity through a variety of annual events. The city hosts a parade honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Dia de Muerto celebration, and others. So when Mayor Ron Jensen and Council Member Jorja Clemson attended the 100 year anniversary celebration of the Saint John Church and heard Pastor Denny Davis speak about renaming a street after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they decided this could be another step in celebrating the diversity of Grand Prairie.

According to the city’s community inclusion coordinator Gerald Hodges, the city commissioned deputy city manager Bill Hills to facilitate the process. A committee was formed with several clergy members from local churches, a street was chosen, and the date of the anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was chosen.

“19th Street is used annually for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade and ends in front of David Daniels Elementary School,” Hodges said. “David Daniels Elementary was named after one of the first African American principals in Grand Prairie.

“David Daniels was also a noted community leader and the school named in his honor will be the location of the street dedication. The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not only honored by the street named after him, but also by the unity achieved with the community and city of Grand Prairie working together to make this happen.”

Rev. Matthew McGruder explained the process of choosing 19th Street.

“This was the most logical street to pick, because there are not many residents along this street,” McGruder said. “It would have been a long process if we had chosen a street with many people who lived here, because they all would have had to change their addresses. This street goes all the way from David Daniels School to Highway 161. It is a long corridor that everyone in the city uses.”

“I decided to come out as a member of the neighborhood,” attendee Lisa Schulze said. “I saw this at a school board meeting. I live on 18th Street, so I wanted to come out and support the community.

“I support Martin Luther King’s ideals, and I want to support that we are one country of Americans. We need to show up and support each other.What is important to one community should be important to all of us.”

The ceremony consisted of remarks made by Dr. Denny Davis, Pastor Preston Dixon, Mayor Ron Jenson, and Council Member Jorja Clemson, as well as Bible readings, prayers, choir songs and solos, and an excerpt from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“I was raised in this very neighborhood, and I am peacock proud to share in this celebration,” Dixon said. “This is the epitome and consummation that God still sits on the throne.In the midst of the pandemic and protests, we are here celebrating and renaming 19thStreet after Dr. King.

“How wonderful it is to work with the city.This is what it looks like when we can lay down our petty differences and work together.This is only the beginning of what Dr. King had in mind. It is not just about unity in the community, but it is about unity abroad. This is not a day off, but a day on, continuing to work together.”

“Dr. Davis said from the pulpit it is time to honor Dr. King in Grand Prairie,” Mayor Ron Jensen said. “That next week we met with the pastors, and less than six weeks later, we are ready to rename this street, because it is past time to honor Dr. King.

“I want to thank the elected officials who worked hard to make this happen. I believe this in my heart, we need to work together and get to know each other. When you know someone of a different culture, then we can learn about each other and really understand what someone is going through. I want all of us to reach out and make friends with people who are different than we are. That is what makes this city great.”