Warren County holds march and celebration to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Franklin and Warren County celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a march to commemorate him on his birthday.
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 7:11 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2023 at 9:15 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - It was Aug. 28, 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington.

Now, community members held their own march to commemorate King’s dream and celebrate what would have been his 94th birthday.

“It’s really an honor to be here because everybody here wants to honor Martin Luther King for what he did,” said Black Male Scholar student Response Shyaka.

Vice Chairperson of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, Ryan Dearbone, gathered community and congregation alike earlier at the Justice Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Together, they all marched to State Street First Baptist Church to pay homage to King.

“Our theme is, ‘together, we are the dream,’” Dearbone said. “How do we effectively become that dream of 2023, to hopefully one day realize what Dr. King meant and what he wanted us to do.”

Dearbone said that for him, being part of the dream means everyone gets a seat at the table.

“Being part of the dream means having discussions not based on race, having to not worry about because I’m a black man, or because somebody has an Asian person or whatever, having to be discriminated against,” Dearbone said. “Having inclusivity, that we’re all at the table, we all get the same treatment, we all have the same goals and values and are treated as such.”

The march’s Grand Marshals were Jonesville Academy and Black Male Scholar Students, all hoping to honor King’s wishes.

“If they think that there’s no more segregation, then they’re probably not living in reality,” Shyaka said. “Martin Luther King, he’s the one that did everything you see here today. Black people and white people together, everybody together, is all Martin Luther King and the other people that were marching.”

Dearbone added that, while he was grateful for the turnout for the march and celebration, celebrating King’s legacy shouldn’t be delegated to just one day.

“Today we set aside to celebrate Dr. King, but this needs to be a continual thing that we do every day in our daily lives,” Dearbone said. “It’s just those little things of being collaborative, being inclusive, being diverse.”

The event concluded with a celebration at State Street First Baptist Church, and a medal ceremony was to honor Jonesville Academy and Black Male Scholars students for their volunteer work during the 2021 December tornadoes.