Ocoee, Florida – The City of Ocoee’s 10th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Parade and Celebration will be held on Monday, January 18, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. The parade, presented by the City of Ocoee’s Human Relations Diversity Board, begins at Citrus Elementary School, 87 North Clarke Road, and ends at the parking lot of the West Oaks Mall on Clarke Road.
The parade will showcase dancing groups, marching bands, motorcycles and floats. Orlando civil rights pioneer the Reverend Canon Nelson Pinder will be the keynote speaker for the post-parade celebration. The outdoor celebration will be held at 11:00 a.m. - 12 noon in the parking lot of the West Oaks Mall on Clarke Road.
The Reverend Pinder was born in 1932 in Miami. He grew up in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami and was baptized and confirmed in the Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church. After serving in the Army in the Korean War, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Bethune-Cookman College. He later earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Florida A&M University. Inspired by the work of young Episcopal priests working in urban ministries, he received a call to the gospel and decided to attend Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin. In 1959, he was called to Orlando and began his service as the first full-time priest of color at The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist. During the 1960s, he became known as the “Street Priest,” organizing and participating in sit-ins and protests which helped to advance civil rights in the city of Orlando. In 1969, he was installed as a Canon, and was assigned to The Awareness Center, where he served for three years.
On January 9, 2010, he was honored at a special service held at the Cathedral of St. Luke, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination to the Priesthood. Father Pinder has been married for more than fifty years to the former Marian Grant, of Jacksonville, Florida. Father and Mrs. Pinder are the parents of two children, Gail (deceased) and Nelson, II (Janet), and the proud grandparents of four.
To download a parade registration form, log on to www.ocoee.org or visit Ocoee City Hall to pick up a form. For more information, call 407-905-3100.
Biographical information compiled from Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist