Lexington MLK Parade marches through town

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) They were fired up and excited.

And they were happy about the numbers.

“A lot of people turned out, we think maybe more than last year," said Robin LeBlanc, the Parade Coordinator. "And in this cold and given that some people still have to work on Martin Luther King Day, we are absolutely thrilled.”

It’s only the second year for CARE – the Community Anti-Racism Effort – in Rockbridge to sponsor a parade, but as they marched through Lexington they not only sang and chanted, they knew why they were there.

“This is an opportunity for our community to unite together for justice, equality, and peace,” said Rev. Joe Cailles, pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, as he carried a banner with a handful of other local ministers.

And while the specter of Charlottesville brought out a strong police presence, as well as trucks to block any attempt to bust through barriers, organizers say they think the marchers felt safe.

“With the presence of the law enforcement agencies, I think their calms – their fears were calmed,”explained CARE Spokesman Rev. Reginald Early.

Calm enough for children to get hot cocoa after the parade and maybe a little music, from a Washington and Lee student group that had joined in.

“This is our community too," said W&L student Jordan Goldstein. "We’re here and we wanted to make a difference while we’re here too.”

“You know," said LeBlanc. "There’s something about peace, love, justice, and equality for all that can make you happy.”