By Colin Foster
TROY — Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision to strengthen and bond together communities as one, to bridge barriers, to find solutions to social issues. He believed in freedom and justice for all ethnic groups; he wanted a change for the better in regard to human equality, but above all, King Jr. wanted to make the world a better place.
Martin Luther King’s words and ideals continue to inspire people til this day — and Monday was dedicated to honoring his legacy and commitment to making our nation a better place.
There were all types of events held nationally in honor of Martin Luther King Day on Monday.
Locally, the annual Martin Luther King Day march was held in Troy, with a big crowd on hand. Marchers of all ages and backgrounds gathered in the parking lot of La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant at 9 a.m. and began walking to Richards Chapel United Methodist Church to reference the Million Man March.
The Rev. Charles Carnes, of the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, led the march. It was followed by a memorial celebration service at Richards Chapel United Methodist Church, with David K. Greer, a civil service retiree of 30 years from the federal government, as the keynote speaker.
“I love seeing other ethnic groups here, everybody here joined together as one. (The vision) is that we might be able to knock down the walls of racial barriers, ethnic barriers — and be able to harmonize as one; that all of us can function as Americans, not because of our skin color,” Carnes said.
“It’s a good event that represents the efforts for peace and justice and respect for one another — and anytime we do that, I think it’s a positive thing for our community,” said Troy Mayor Michael Beamish. “The message I’m sharing today will be all about celebrating our diversity; that we’re all God’s gifts and that we all have different gifts to offer.”
The march is just one event the Troy King Team had planned for this year. The team invited the community to listen in on a historical presentation by local author and retired teacher of African-American history, Larry Hamilton, this past Saturday at the Troy-Miami County Public Library. The theme for the 2014 Troy Martin Luther King Jr. celebration was “Learning From the Past; Build Toward Our Future.”
“Martin Luther King (Jr.) fought for civil liberties and civil rights of all mankind,” Carnes said. “His desire was not for us to just have handouts, but his desire was for us to be able to function as American citizens with the same rights as everyone else. I look at this day as a day that we can continue to build on that and strive to become that America.”
Colin Foster may be reached at 937-440-5208 or followed on Twitter @colinfosterbg or @Troydailynews