Charlottesville Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Junior
On Monday, January 21, people across Charlottesville honored the life and works of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - On Monday, January 21, people across Charlottesville honored the life and works of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.
The federal holiday is one in which many of those within the community come together to remember what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for.
Doctor King’s dream and works were the focus of a gathering in Downtown Charlottesville, Monday afternoon.
Hundreds of people packed the Carver Recreation Center to show their appreciation to King's legacy.
The event held music by The Jones Singers and vocalist James Jackson. Keynote speaker Jeanita Richardson, a professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, also greeted the large crowd.
Charles Alexander, otherwise known as Alex-Zan, presented ‘The Lifesavers’, a group of citizens who help those in jails and prisons.
Alex-Zan said King’s legacy is about a dedication to help others.
"I think of courage, someone that took a stand, someone that did not have a self serving agenda. His agenda was people, all centered around people making a difference in the lives of people whether it was in Memphis, Atlanta around the world and plus bringing people together,” said Alex-Zan.
Alex-Zan wanted to remind people there are other events going on in the African American community.
(For information on Alex-Zan’s harambee calendar with the dates, you can click, here.)
Only a few miles from Downtown Charlottesville, the University of Virginia Medical Center held an event of its own honoring the civil rights leader.
The Interfaith Service at the medical center has been celebrating the life and work of Doctor King for the past 15 years.
Organizers said the goal of the event was to bring people together from all races, religions, and backgrounds.
The service had a theme of ‘women in the movement’ to pay tribute to those who supported Doctor King, the civil rights movement, and sacrifices made for equality and justice for all.
The event allowed people to take a break from work, or procedures, to reflect on the legacy of Doctor King.
Halima Walker, a registered nurse with the UVA Health System said, “Dr. Marin Luther King worked tirelessly for people of all faiths, and all backgrounds to be able to enjoy the same freedoms in this country. I think this is able to translate into that by having an interfaith service, it's representative of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s dream.”
Organizers say the major take away is that Doctor King and others were people who fought against adversity, even when it threatened their lives.
The hope is that people will be empowered to do the same, and stand up together for a better country, and world.
Over at Woodbrook Elementary in Albemarle County, multiple families put their best foot forward, walking miles to recognize and honor Doctor King.
Monday’s event marked the fifth annual ‘Walk a Mile for Martin’ at the elementary school.
Families across the county bundled up to show support for causes they believe in.
One family geared up for a cold but meaningful walk ahead, after traveling quite a few miles to get to the location. The Duncan family arrived to honor King's legacy.
“We’re from Crozet and my kids go to Crozet Elementary,” said Jill Duncan, walking a mile for martin. “I remember hearing about it last year and wishing that we had joined. It felt like an easy way to start to introduce ways to be out in the community.”
The ‘Walk a Mile for Martin’ event at Woodbrook Elementary united families together on Martin Luther King Day, giving them a chance to stand up for a cause they believe in.
Duncan said, “I really did appreciate that it is based and kind of framed around opportunities and families to kind of think about all the different things that matter to them.”
Principal of Woodbrook Elementary, Lisa Molinaro said, “The idea of service is something you should always grow up understanding and being able to contribute whatever your cause is, you should give service.”
Despite below freezing temperatures, children and their parents had no problem taking a stroll through the school's bus loop.
As families put one foot in front of the other, they were reminded of how far we've come but also a long journey ahead.
“It feels like a time where you know while we've made strides, there's still so much work to do and so many opportunities for our communities to really come together,” stated Duncan.
By the end of the afternoon, the school counted 471 miles walked during the event.
As the greater Albemarle-Charlottesville area gathered to honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it's evident that his work will never fade from the lives it has touched.