While President Obama was inaugurated for a second time, towns all over Kentucky observed Martin Luther King Junior Day. Inspirational singing welcomed marchers as they gathered inside the corridor at Lexington’s Heritage Hall. Just a few feet away from the song leader’s microphone, Tiffany Cooper swayed back and forth. “I’m just excited that we are coming together as one body and as different cultures and to experience this historic event. And just to see everybody walking hand in hand, that’s awesome. It just shows what God and can do and what Dr. Martin Luther King paved the way for,” said Cooper.
While Cooper marched in Lexington, her cousin was in Washington D-C with his school group, attending the 2nd inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president.
Participating in his 34th march was Jack Burch, who’s retiring as director of the Community Action Council.
“It allows us, as a community, to stop and focus again, on a lot of goals we still haven’t achieved. It’s real easy to just kind of go through life and kind of ignore the things going on around you,” said Burch.
Many organizations march together on the third Monday of January. Among them was sizeable contingent of uniformed police. Officer Melissa Sedlaczek says the M-L-K march is truly representative of the Lexington community.
“I mean the police department is the community and we have people in our agency from all different walks of life and we represent the community and we need to be a part of it,” added Sedlaczek.
After the procession, Jacob Garrison from Eastern Kentucky University, was headed downtown…to help homeless residents seeking shelter at the Catholic Action Center. Garrison believes more people use the M-L-K Holiday to provide such service to the community.
“I think there are just more options out there and people aware of it now maybe than they used to be so I think you have better access to different opportunities,” said Garrison.
Before the march, community leaders also gathered for a unity breakfast. Then afterwards, many of those same folks participated in a program in Heritage Hall. The observance continued at the Kentucky Theater with an afternoon showing of a documentary on civil rights activist and singer Harry Belafonte.