Local News

Trump's comments on minds of many during MLK celebration

Posted January 15, 2018 6:51 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:41 p.m. EDT

— Hundreds of people braved the bitter cold in Raleigh Monday morning to honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The 38th-annual MLK Memorial March drew people of all ages, races and creeds downtown. The theme of this year's celebration was "Strength to Love, Courage to Act," and those who took part found plenty of strength in their fellow marchers.

Ruby Daniels marched with teenagers from Davie Street Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, several of whom had never participated before. She said it's essential for young black people to learn about King, to experience what it's like to come together for a cause and to feel the power of their Raleigh community.

"We want to teach them that the dream that he had brought all people together – not just one people but all people," Daniels said. "We want them to know that, and we need to instill that in them to keep them alive – to keep it alive."

Yet, derogatory remarks reportedly made last week by President Donald Trump about countries in Africa were on the minds of many marchers. Fourteen-year-old Zoe Craven called the remarks disappointing.

"Me being an African-American, I don't think he likes us," Craven said.

Shaw University students Lou Torres and Avery Upshur, who marched with their fraternity brothers, said Trump's comments made it imperative for them to make a stand.

"This country is filled with people of all nationalities, colors. It's not just one race. So, with all the stuff that's going on in Washington, we've got to unite, come together and just show that we can all live and work together," Torres said.

"Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. So, we're still trying to come about it, but we're headed in the right direction," Upshur said.

The march was one of a series of activities in Raleigh throughout the day to honor King.

The annual Triangle Interfaith Prayer Breakfast kicked off the day, where Rabbi Lucy Dinner of Temple Beth Or in Raleigh noted Trump's comments in her keynote address.

During the day, another event celebrated community service projects designed by student entrepreneurs, and the Martin Luther King all-children's choir provided the music.

The festivities closed with a public concert at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts featuring gospel singer Wess Morgan, choirs and a Hindu dance tribute to King.