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Baltimore City

Baltimore’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade is back on, Mayor Scott tweets

After the cancellation of Baltimore’s Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and a tumultuous weekend that followed, Mayor Brandon Scott tweeted Sunday night that the Jan. 16 parade is on again.

“There will be a MLK Day parade noon on January 16th kicking off at the normal starting point,” Scott tweeted late Sunday.

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The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, which hosted the parade for decades until it was canceled in 2021 and 2022, has been under fire from the mayor and other elected officials since announcing Thursday that the parade would be canceled a third time in favor of a day of service.

The cancellation sparked outrage from City Hall and beyond, with Democratic U.S. Rep Kweisi Mfume calling the decision “disrespectful” and “disgraceful,” noting that it set the stage “for there never to be an MLK celebration parade again in Baltimore.” BOPA would not confirm whether it ever planned to bring the parade back.

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On Friday, Scott called for BOPA to oust its chief, Donna Drew Sawyer, by Jan. 15, threatening to withhold city funding from the quasi-public nonprofit. Sawyer remained CEO as of Sunday, according to the group’s board of directors, despite elected officials being told she had resigned over the weekend.

Scott’s letter on Jan. 6 followed a clarification from the agency on Friday that appeared to blame the mayor’s office for the decision to cancel the event.

Sawyer has not returned multiple calls for comment over the weekend, and could not be reached at her home Sunday.

It was unclear at the time of the mayor’s tweet which organization would be responsible for running the parade. The mayor and two of his spokespeople did not immediately return calls Sunday night for clarification.

In 2020, the last year the parade ran, the procession went down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, starting at its intersection with Eutaw Street and disbanding on Baltimore Street.

This story will be updated.


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