Faith, civil rights, service a reminder of MLK's legacy
Posted January 18
Updated January 19
Research Triangle Park, N.C. — For the 36th year in the Triangle, people of all faiths came together to kick off a day of remembrance at the Martin Luther King Jr. Triangle Inter-Faith Prayer Breakfast.
Keynote speaker Rev. Mark-Anthony Middleton, pastor of Abundant Hope Christian Church in Durham, reminded those in attendance that the struggle for civil rights is an ongoing one.
"There are still battles to be fought in our revolution," he said.
"Patriotism says you should feel good that the territorial integrity of our borders is safe and no army can stand against us. Advanced patriotism makes me ask, 'Why should I have to worry about domestic armies shooting me," he asked in raising the issue of citizens shot by police.
Dache' Hardison, a senior at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, was among the first to address the crowd. She name-dropped Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland and Eric Garner, all African-Americans whose interactions with police ended in their deaths.
"In the words of Dr. King, it would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment," Hardison said.
In downtown Raleigh, more than 1,000 people participated in the annual Days of Peace march starting at the State Capitol.
People of all races and all ages braved the cold to recognize the legacy of the slain civil rights leader. Many parents marched with their children to pass along King's message of non-violent activism.
Dekevias Atkinson brought his son to the march.
"Dr. King was a revolutionary, and I think he was way ahead of his time," he said. "I think the things he stood for are just as important now as back in the '50s and '60s."
Christian Judkins, 16, said he was inspired by his parents, who were products of the civil rights era, to learn more about King and his contemporaries.
"What they did for us is really affecting us nowadays," Judkins said.
"I just wanted to spread the message that Dr. Martin Luther King had, and I feel like this is one of the best ways we can do it here in Raleigh," he added.
Knox McMillan encouraged others to see the holiday as an opportunity.
"I would ask that you not use this day as a holiday and go home and go to sleep," he said. "I would ask that you use it to further the betterment of humanity."
The march ended at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, where an ecumenical service featured a children's choir. A musical celebration was planned at the Duke Energy Center to cap the day's events.