From Sparrow to step groups, Capitol Ave. got a show Saturday that was missing last summer.
"We're back," said Rev. Michael Murphy, chairman of the parade and festival. "We missed last year because of the economy and the challenges, but people said we want our parade, we want our festival."
The Capital City African American Parade and Family Heritage Festival featured more than 500 participants from across the state. It was particularly special for current Lansing City Council member A'Lynne Robinson, who was also the first African-American woman to serve as city council president.
"It gives me just absolute pride in the sense of just wonder of look at all we've accomplished and where we've come from," Robinson said. "As well as, many of these folks are my cousins or people I went to high school with, because I'm fourth generation from Lansing."
The event also served as a back-to-school kick off. Vendors like the district library were issuing new memberships, and Sparrow handed out free insulated lunch bags. Many people said this is the exact kind of event the community needs right now to help send a positive message to kids before they begin the school year.
"So much violence has been going on a lot lately, and this is just something that we need to let the community know that we are together," said Temka Hall, a mother who attended the event with her family. "We're here to stick together."
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero agrees. He admitted there's room for improvement in the city.
"No question we have challenges, challenges that we can face by working together," Bernero said. "So, hopefully events like also work as a catalyst, bringing people together to help face those challenges that we have to face in the future."
The organizers plan to hold the event again next year. They're promising it to be bigger and better.