WUFT News

Area Residents Remember King With Celebration and Fellowship

By and on January 21st, 2014

Running shoes laced up, a crisp breeze to keep cool, and smiles lit up all up and down Gainesville’s University Avenue and Waldo Road. This was the scene at Monday’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorative march in Gainesville.

“I want to be supportive of civil rights and everything that went on,” said John Tees, a Gainesville resident who attended the events for the first time this year. “A lot of people made a lot of sacrifices and I just wanted to be part of it. It was a great march.”

Margaret Reynolds, 77, joined the audience at the gospel concert after Gainesville's commemorative march on Jan. 20.

Megan Reeves / WUFT News

Margaret Reynolds, 77, joined the audience at the gospel concert after Gainesville's commemorative march on Jan. 20.

From grandparents to college students and even little children, people from all backgrounds and walks of life came together for a common goal — to celebrate the life of a man who fought hard for equality.

Rodney Long, president and founder of the MLK Commission of Florida, Inc., agreed saying that today was a celebration amongst many.

“Today should be a day that we all commemorate a great man who did great things for all of us,” Long said.

Long also said that he is pleased with the way both the commission and the community have continued to promote the legacy that King so passionately expounded upon.

A sentiment echoed by University of Florida student Jayce Victor who is proud to carry on what he sees as one of the most significant aspects of King’s legacy — his service to the community.

Pastor David Richard leads Eastside High School gospel choir at the Jan. 20 event.

Megan Reeves / WUFT News

Pastor David Richard leads Eastside High School gospel choir at the Jan. 20 event.

“There’s a lot of people from all over the world here that go to the University of Florida so I don’t know if there’s much of a bigger stage — might be some bigger cities — but you’ve got people from all over the world here and it just makes it… You come together for something like this and it’s a good feeling,” said Victor.

The march started at the Bo Diddley Plaza in downtown Gainesville and ended at the MLK Multipurpose Center on Waldo Road.

The MLK Commission held a gospel music rally at the center, following the march. After coming to the event for over 10 years, 77-year-old Margaret Reynolds said she believes everyone that can come, should.

“Martin Luther King said to us that one day we would be free,” she said. “We are free. We are living together. Black, white, Hispanic and all are living together. We are free and I love this event.”

The commission also granted three Gainesville students, varying from middle school to high school, scholarships during the celebration and remembrance of King.

Raven Delk, 17 and a senior at Buchholz High School, received the Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award, an award based on a student’s academic success and involvement within the community.

Delk volunteered at homeless shelters, packed food for people in Haiti and served as a summer camp counselor. She also previously worked in children’s churches and participated in pageants in order to be a role model for younger children.

Delk plans to use the scholarship funds, totaling $7,500 over a four-year period, for college with the goal to graduate with no debt. Like many high school seniors, though, she is not sure about what she would like to do after college but plans to preserve King’s legacy in the younger generation.

The march and music rally aren’t the end of local MLK commemorative festivities. There are more events going on until the end of the month, sponsored by the University of Florida multicultural and diversity affairs program in the Division of Student Affairs. Visit UFMLK.org for details on upcoming events.

Brooke Austill contributed to this report.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Evergreen sign

Gainesville Cemetery Recognized as Historical Landmark

Gainesville’s Evergreen Cemetery, which has been active for 158 years and houses more than 10,000 graves, received the State of Florida Historical Marker on April 12.


April 18, 2014: Afternoon News in 90

A video roundup of local, state and national stories for readers in North Central Florida.


Alachua Tax Collector Von Fraser Dies at 76

Von Fraser, who has served as Alachua County’s Tax Collector for 33 years, died early Thursday morning at the age of 76.


Blueberries continue to adapt and thrive in Florida fields, and as a result new jobs are popping up around the state.

Blueberry Industry Brings Blossoming Job Opportunities

An increase in harvests of Florida blueberries helps economy in North Central Florida.


Concerns Raised About Corporal Punishment in North Central Florida Schools

Suwannee County School District has the highest number of corporal punishment incidents in Florida for the 2011-12 school year. Founder of Floridians Against Corporal Punishment in Public School has made Suwannee County the next goal of his civil rights campaign.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments