Former Nevada Assemblyman Wendell Williams plans back-to-school parade
Forty years ago, Wendell Williams made history by throwing the first Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Las Vegas.
There were only 13 entries that parade’s first year in January 1982. Four decades later, however, the parade draws thousands to downtown Las Vegas, serving as a centerpiece of the Valley’s efforts to recognize King’s legacy.
Williams said he was now starting something new and unique modeled after the King parade: a back-to-school celebration highlighting the importance of education for elementary school children on the historic Westside.
“Above all, we want to show children that education is valued, and we want them to value education,” said the former MP. “It’s one of the best things we can do in life. Very exciting.”
The Historic West Las Vegas Back-to-School Parade is scheduled to begin the morning of Sept. 17 at 1030 J St. Participants line up at 8 a.m. and the procession begins at 10 a.m. If all goes as planned, the parade will wind its way to downtown Edmond, 1021 W. Owens Ave., where the children will be offered gifts, haircuts and words of encouragement on the importance of doing well in school.
“We hope to spread the word to our community,” said Amber “Ambeezy” Blow, on-air personality and production coordinator at local radio station KCEP Power 88.1 who works with Williams to spread the word through public service announcements. “We want to make sure schools and their Westside students are aware that this Back to School Parade is taking place, where they can show up and benefit from the resources that will be provided at the parade.”
Las Vegas students are already involved in promoting the parade, said Duana “The Tech Queen” Malone, executive director of the Nevada Help Desk. State training provider employs underserved and underrepresented students in the Valley teaching them cybersecurity digital marketing, mobile app development, cloud communications, computer programming, website development , multimedia and social media.
The Nevada Help Desk assigned students to develop a website and provide technology support for the new parade.
“I have worked on a variety of projects with the Nevada Help Desk including the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, the Veterans Day Parade,” said Meahel Heard-Pitra, local student and Nevada Help employee. Desk. “I hope other children in our community see the Nevada Help Desk as a way to participate in meaningful events.”
Williams was elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1986 and served in the body until losing the 2004 Democratic primary to longtime teacher Harvey Munford. His loss was largely due to a pair of scandals that broke in 2003.
He was fired from his job in Las Vegas in December 2003 for allegedly accepting $6,700 in wages for hours he did not work while serving in Carson City, and for allegedly making more than 1 $800 in personal calls to his city. – mobile phone issued.
Williams was also embroiled in a scandal at what was then known as Community College of Southern Nevada, where he persuaded officials to hire his friend Topazia “Briget” Jones.
But Jones reportedly had a spotty college attendance record and showed up in Carson City in 2003 to work as his personal aide in the Legislative Assembly. When the college decided to fire Jones, Williams – then chairman of the Assembly Education Committee – intervened. Jones filed a discrimination complaint and received a $100,000 settlement.
Despite these controversies, Williams remained a staunch defender of the historic Westside. He hopes the celebration and parade will become an annual event to benefit children.
“I would love to see the community participate in this parade and be inspired by it,” he said.