YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Local churches and the community held a special ceremony Friday to memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 46th anniversary of his untimely death.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was the first song that could be heard coming from the Mahoning County Courthouse during the ceremony. Dr. King was shot to death on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.
“We’re commemorating his memory, but realizing the dream he wanted for this entire nation, but did not see that dream himself,” said the Rev. Dr. William King Jr., pastor of AME Zion Church.
Organizers believe celebrations to remember Dr. King should be going on across the country.
“His contribution to race relationships is the foundation for what many of us feel changed the direction of this entire nation,” Rev. King said.
The reverend said Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed and gave up so much, even his life, to see his dream realized.
“God called him to lead a nation out of the bonds of discrimination and segregation. And he undertook that task and he did it with great sacrifice. And we are all blessed as a result of it,” King said.
Jaladaa Aslam, a staff representative for AFSCME District 8, said one way people can remember Dr. King is by participating in the political process.
“Dr. King and so many other people that were involved in the civil rights, the human rights movement, fought extremely hard for people of color, women, to have the right to vote,” Aslam said.
Aslam said people also should be making an effort every day to advance Dr. King’s dream.
“And that’s not just people of color. That is Americans of all walks of life. What Dr. King wanted was equality for everyone. He wanted us to be equal and to be integrated into the great society,” Aslam said.