AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Every third Monday of January marks the federal holiday honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
MLK Day was observed in the United States for the first time in 1986 and was designated as a national day of service by Congress in 1994.
This morning, residents of the Amarillo community from all walks of life gathered to be a part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March.
One Amarillo resident explained how he has ties to Dr. King through his fraternity.
“Dr. King was one of our fraternity brothers,” said Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. President Tramicah Young. “Not only do we represent him, and the fraternity that represents him, but he represents us as a whole, as a community. To be able to come out and support him and the respect that he deserves, is just a blessing. It’s amazing to see that his dream has actually come true with all the different races here.”
Participants marched from the Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Amarillo Boulevard to the Potter County Courthouse, to gather and hear keynote speaker Reverend Nell Newton.
Two speakers followed Reverend Newton to give words of encouragement, praise and educate the youth on the importance of MLK Day in Amarillo.
“It’s really important that we educate our children with what Martin Luther King Jr. Day is all about,” said Maverick Boys and Girls Club CEO Donna Soria. “We are part of the dream that Martin Luther King had.”
Member of the Maverick Boys and Girls Club Raizyah Thomas added, “He had a very big impact on everyone and that’s why we’re here today, united. He didn’t sacrifice his life for nothing.”
Parents also recognized the importance of teaching their kids more about Dr. King.
“As I get older, I learn more about him and his message,” said Maverick Boys and Girls Club Compliance Director Summer McCampbell. “As I’m learning, I’m able to direct that information to my children and the children that we work with at the Maverick Boys and Girls Club. [Dr. King] was all about change, and the unification of our country and our children is where we start.”
Speakers mentioned how far Amarillo has come because of Dr. King but they said there is still more room for growth.
“There’s a lot we have to do,” said Young. “Like they were speaking on today, there’s so much that we’ve grown from and there’s still many people who have a blind eye to things. We have to come together as a community, come together as a whole and stand up for one another.”
Speeches were given by Amy Taylor and Melodie Graves. A musical performance was given by Devlon Jones, and an induction ceremony was held for incoming NAACP officers and Committee, by Potter Country Commissioner Mercy Murguia.