Community Honors Martin Luther King Jr. with Celebration

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

The Harrisonburg and Rockingham County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted a celebration on Sunday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year's message is "service above self."

Neighbors in Harrisonburg remembered Dr. King listening to his words and talking about his legacy.

Bethel Temple AME Pastor Reverend Monty Royster said Dr. King wanted equality for everyone.

"He wanted us to be minded based and nation based versus individuals," Royster said.

Elaine Blakey with the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County NAACP helped organized the celebration.

She said it's important to remember him every year.

"We wouldn't want to think that Dr. King was killed and died in vain because he was really about equality and fighting for justice," Blakey said.

She said Dr. King's dream of equality is not a reality yet.

"You forget quickly that you think that everything is equal in the school system and in the job market and we know that is not. We want to keep that upfront and in everyone's minds," Blakey said.

For Royster, people can't leave it up to government to bring change.

"I believe because whatever we do in our community is gonna affect our children, how we live and how we view our community so when we put our community efforts it has to be number one," Royster said.

Royster said education and economy reforms are necessary. However, it will take more than one group to bring change.

"We have to be in the mindset to build legacies, not only as communities. We have to come together, we need to continue to rally together," Royster said.

John Hertzler who is at the celebration said rallying together for social change is a great idea, as long as people do it with peace like Dr. King did.

"I'm hopeful that with that legacy effort maybe we can use that same non-violence method in our world relationships," Hertzler said.

This is the sixth year of the event. During this year's event, the NAACP donated money to the United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County to help them continue their service.


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