Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time we remember one of the biggest names in the Civil Rights movement.
The Civil Rights movement has been a constant fight for many citizens of the United States, but one name that holds the highest meaning, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “We were celebrating his birthday before his birthday became an official holiday,” said Owens Brown who has been apart of the MLK celebrations since 1983.
In Wheeling, the community held two days of activities to honor MLK. Sunday, the 15th features the annual MLK Day Interfaith March for Peace and Freedom beginning here on Martin Luther King Boulevard and ending at the Fourth Street United Methodist Church.
“With the King holiday, and Dr. King, it was about raising the conscience of America,” Brown added. “Especially now when this country seems to be pulling itself apart racially; we need to remember, not only, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, but the whole struggle for Civil Rights. Not just whites and blacks but every nationality that makes up this country,” said Reverend Alan Fritz, pastor at Fourth St. United Methodist Church.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Laughlin Memorial Chapel on 18th Street finalist from the YWCA’s MLK Day Essay Contest read their work for those in attendance, “Racism, unfortunately, still exist and we want to be able to provide outlets for folks to be able to express themselves to talk about the issue of racism,” said Josh Benyo, the Operations Director for the YWCA Wheeling.
Owens Brown has been apart of the Civil Rights memorials since they began in 1983, and only one name has remained consistent, “Some people’s image and names have disappeared off the history books, where Dr. King’s name lives on and grows. They celebrate Dr. King worldwide now,” he said and he still, to this day, credits the movement with the progressions of his own life, “I am a product of the Civil Rights movement. It’s just part of my DNA because everything I can think of, I can contribute to the Civil Rights movement. All of our advances as a people,” Brown went on.
There’s just one message Brown wants to get across to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “We need to reaffirm our convictions to human civil rights.”
The organizations have been doing these activities officially, since 1984. They plan to continue remembering MLK as the years progress.