Who is a hero in the world today? Celebrities, athletes, politicians – we may admire their status, praise their actions and lust after their talent, but they aren’t necessarily role models. It’s all the more important then to remember those rare people who have not only achieved an extraordinary goal in their lifetimes, but who have also led lives worth emulating. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of those people.
Marking the 27th official holiday this past weekend, church congregants and community members from all walks of life united to honor Dr. King’s life, accomplishments and legacy. At Emmanuel Church of Amarillo, numerous congregations met to hold the 31st annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King. The Sunday afternoon program drew a crowd that filled the church from wall to wall, and according to many, it was the community’s youth that made the program the success that it was.
“We wanted to use the youth in the community,” said T-Noi Winston, one of the service’s organizers. “The youth helped with the entire program, and I feel like that’s what made the event as big as it was.”
From singing to dancing to speaking, the youth had a role in nearly every facet of the program. One performer, Veronica Miles, explained why she thought young adults were so eager to participate.
“Its all part of Dr. King’s legacy… He wanted kids of all races to one day come together, and since children and young adults like us are the future, it’s up to us to continue that legacy," she says.
It might be troubling to think that kids today have no role models, but as long as young adults remember Dr. King’s life and message, it seems they’ll always have someone to look up to. “He was a hero.” Veronica concluded. “He changed so many things, and the work he did can’t be forgotten.”
The successful Sunday service was only the beginning of the festivities. On Monday, people gathered at Bones Hooks Park to take part in a commemorative march for Dr. King. Just after noon, the police escort blared their sirens and cleared a path all the way to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park where the march concluded. Along the route, viewers stood on their porches as a line of people over a quarter mile long marched on.
“It’s a day of celebration,” said Louhelen Moore when asked why she was participating in a march during her day off. “It’s something you want to be a part of with everybody else, celebrating the life of Martin Luther King… It’s because of what he stood for, that’s why everyone wants to be a part of this. There’s more people and more nationalities here today, and that makes it great- that people are getting on board with the dream Dr. King had.”
At the end of the march, when everyone had gathered, people joined their hands together in prayer. And while the march was over, lingering feelings of camaraderie and brotherhood lingered in the air, Dr. King’s legacy of spirit, fight and determination sustained for future generations.
by Alex Mann
Alex is a senior at West Texas A&M University currently completing his final semester for a degree in Mass Communications. When not working, he enjoys developing his photography skills, reading a good book and being with family and friends.