Outside of Gainesville’s City Hall, a framed photo of Dr. Martin Luther King was the focal point for an annual celebration.
Here on Monday morning, a crowd of about 50 people gathered, singing “We Shall Overcome,”
The crowd had gathered for the celebration of the 33-year anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Florida Commission. During the ceremony, president and founder Rodney J. Long provided awards and scholarships to those who have helped serve the community.
Rev. Roland Julien, a former priest at St. Patrick Catholic Church, was among one of the award recipients and was inducted into the commission’s hall of fame. He was recognized for helping expand St. Patrick with a dining room and gym. He also served as a chaplain at Alachua County General Hospital and is a current board member of St. Francis House.
“I just hope that it shows that the whole city is alive with so much good,” Father Julien said.
He said he was grateful to receive the award and he hopes the younger members of the community will be able to continue to fight injustice non-violently.
Nadia Thomas, a Gainesville High School senior, was also inducted into the commission’s hall of fame and given the $10,000 Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship.
A number of elected officials attended the ceremony, including city commissioner at-large Harvey Budd. Commissioner Budd said he attends the King Celebration every year to watch the community come together.