Businesses on MLK March route welcome marchers’ return after 3 years away

MLK March was held virtually in 2021 and 2022 because of the pandemic

San Antonio – Sammy Sana stood outside his store Monday morning on Pecan Valley Drive and Martin Luther King Drive, watching hundreds of thousands of marchers stream past for the first time in three years.

He’s been at the location for five or six years, but it was strange not to have the in-person marches in 2021 and 2022, and he was happy to see the march back again.

“It’s a mix of people and I’m so happy to see that dream is still alive,” Sana said.

It’s a dream he appreciates.

“Mr. King fought for something. It’s not about the march. It’s not about that, you know? But there was a philosophy behind it. Equality. You can do anything,” he said.

Sana said there were “a lot” of walkers coming in to use the bathroom or grab a drink. However, since the streets around the store were blocked off for the march, cars weren’t coming through for much of the morning.

But while business was slower overall, he didn’t mind.

“We do business all year long. So one day, no, it’s no biggie,” he said.

On the other side of I-10, hungry walkers meant good business for Skinny Black BBQ, as well as a chance for the business promote a cause of its own.

The business is owned by the family of Marquise Jones, a 23-year-old black man who was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in 2014.

“We have an organization called Marquise Jones Foundation that my sister just started, and then his dad opened his restaurant like four years ago,” said Jones’s mother, Cheryl Jones, as she and other family members sported bright red shirts with the foundation name.

Like Sana, the family was also happy to see the return of the march in general.

“Everybody was doing their own thing when the pandemic hit. But with the march, it brings all the community together, everybody for one cause,” said Debbie Bush.

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About the Authors

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.

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