TROY — Despite frigid temperatures, hundreds of Miami County residents came together on Monday to participate in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march and celebratory service in downtown Troy.
Participants gathered at the southwest quadrant of the Public Square, located near Bakehouse Bread Co. After an opening word of prayer, participants marched east through the Public Square toward Troy Police Department. A special prayer for local law enforcement was held with participating officers.
While singing hymns, such as “We Will Overcome” and “This Little Light of Mine,” participants then marched to First United Methodist Church on Franklin Street, where a celebratory service was held. Associate pastor Ty Williams provided an opening prayer, followed by welcome and introductions by Lincoln Community Center director Shane Carter.
Members of the Anointed Innocence Dancers, of the Inspiration Church in Dayton, were on site to perform before the congregation.
This year’s celebration, which marks the 90th birthday of Dr. King, offered the debut of the Wesley McCoy Service Award, with Rev. Wesley McCoy, Sr. serving as the inaugural recipient. The award will be distributed annually to honor an outstanding citizen who has impacted the community.
Mayor Mike Beamish offered an official proclamation, proclaiming Monday as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the city of Troy, and saying,”I would urge all of my fellow citizens to re-dedicate ourselves to support the efforts made by Dr. King and others to enable future generations to remember the dream of love, peace, and harmony throughout this land.”
Serving as keynote speaker was Pastor Kima Cunningham of the Richards Chapel United Methodist Church in Troy, who voiced that Dr. King’s famous “dream” still continues through the actions of millions.
“It takes all of us doing what we can, when we can,” Cunningham said. “This actually was his dream, knowing that by the time he would leave this earth the dream may not be fulfilled, but understanding there would be soldiers left to carry on and pursue the dream. We are what King dreamed about.”
Cunningham also reminded the congregation that, in remembrance of Dr. King, great strides in progress are still yet to be made and the fight for justice will always continue.
“King did not influence countless generations for us to sit back on our laurels and act like everything is alright,” Cunningham said. “There is yet work to be done. This holiday is the only one I know where we are called to do something, to be something, and to stand for something or someone. Today is a day of service, so what will you do? Who are you supposed to impact while you’re here? That is the challenge, and today is the day to do it.”
After the service, a special reception was held at First Place Christian Center on Franklin Street, where refreshments were provided to those in attendance.