Charlottesville Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Monday, many are pausing in Charlottesville to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Celebrations ranging from speakers to discussions and service activities are lasting into the evening. All are focused on living by King's dream.

Community members came together at the new Carver Recreation Center on Fourth Street Monday morning to emphasize the belief that "character counts."

"Dr. King embodied character and part of character, of course, is treating people and accepting people as equals and the importance of all people matter," said Alex Zan, a speaker at the celebration.

Volunteers say a step toward developing that character is discussion.  The Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia held community dialogues on various topics ranging from activism to violence.

"We want to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, so we're going to have a march to celebrate what they did with civil rights as well as involve the entire community, so from children to adults to veterans," said Niya Bates, a member of AmeriCorps.

Other members of the community honored King's dedication to service. The University of Virginia hosted around 40 high school students for a day filled with medical simulations and shadowing health professionals.

"Dr. King really wanted this to be a day of service, so while many people are taking a day off, it's actually a day on for us in the health care professions," said Dr. Michael Moxley, associate dean for diversity of medical education at the UVA School of Medicine.

It was "a day on" for everyone helping to promote King's dream.

"We want to extend that message as well as challenge the people that's here today to go out and help and serve. That's how we can really embrace Dr. King's message," Zan said.

A candlelit unity march started at Buford Middle School at 5 p.m.  It wrapped  back around for a program at 6 p.m. and a potluck at 7 p.m. The program included song, reflection and an award ceremony.

Linia Bowles received the outstanding parent award for overcoming the adversity of losing her husband and adopting a child that she is now raising alone.

An "Arts into Action" event also took place Monday night at Random Row Books on West Main Street.

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