Mesa’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade has managed to survive for a decade despite many hurdles. But now the man behind the parade is calling it quits.
John Goodie, who is credited with helping to save both the MLK Parade and the actual holiday itself in Mesa, said last week that today’s parade will be his last as the event’s organizer.
“I’m 55 now,” Goodie said. “We need to get some of the younger people with some new ideas on how to raise money and new ideas on how we can make this parade and this festival better.”
The MLK Parade, along with all of the city’s other special events, lost its funding this year because of severe budget cuts. Goodie began soliciting donations and managed to gain assistance from a group of Westwood High School students. They made some television appearances, which inspired a local man to donate the rest of the funds needed to save the parade.
Goodie helped form a grassroots organization in 1992 after voters rescinded a City Council decision to officially observe the holiday. Goodie and other Mesa residents fought to bring the holiday back, and they succeeded in 1996.
“(Goodie) has been the catalyst for the MLK committee from the beginning,” MLK Celebration Committee Vice Chairman Everette Woods said. “He’s been the man.”
Goodie did not expect to have to fight for the holiday again, this time in the form of budget cuts to the parade. Despite those setbacks, this year’s 10th annual parade has managed to get 60 entries, which is more than in other years.
Goodie’s involvement with the MLK holiday over the years has earned him several humanitarian and civil rights awards. Goodie said he promised former Mesa Vice Mayor Jerry Boyd he’d keep the parade alive before Boyd passed away. Boyd was Mesa’s first black councilman.