ORLANDO, Fla. – As Central Florida prepares to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday and in the days that follow, there are numerous opportunities available for individuals to pay their respects.
Already, thousands of individuals have come together over the weekend to honor the civil rights icon, who would have turned 95 this year. One notable event was the 40th annual MLK parade held in downtown Orlando on Saturday morning. The parade showcased a multitude of dance teams, drum lines, and community organizations, all united in their effort to honor Dr. King’s memory. The atmosphere was filled with both celebration and reflection as participants made their way from Orange Avenue to Lake Eola Park.
Dana Mackey, the president of the Southwest Orlando Jaycees and organizer of Saturday’s parade, emphasized the importance of continuing the fight for equality. While acknowledging the progress that has been made, Mackey stated, “We’re definitely a lot better, but we can get better. We keep the legacy alive so we understand what Dr. King fought for.”
In addition to the MLK parade, several other parades will take place on Monday, including those in Ocoee, DeLand, Oviedo, and Apopka. Furthermore, there are various day-of service events scheduled throughout the day. One such event will occur at the Orange County Convention Center at 9 a.m., where thousands of volunteers will gather to pack and distribute meals for families across Central Florida. Additionally, the city of St. Cloud will be hosting a community clean-up event at Hopkins Park starting at 11 a.m.
Another significant event, the 33rd annual “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast, will commence at 7:45 a.m. on Monday. This breakfast brings together over a thousand community and faith-based leaders to celebrate not only Dr. King but also Pappy Kennedy, Orlando’s first Black city council member. Former Congresswoman Val Demings will serve as the guest speaker for this year’s breakfast.
Janda Ward, who attended Saturday’s MLK parade, emphasized the importance of teaching younger generations about Dr. King’s contributions to equality and justice. She stated, “It’s very important for them to understand the history because it took a lot for us to get here and to see that we can accomplish and do anything.”
For those seeking a comprehensive list of events honoring Dr. King across Central Florida, please visit our website. Remember, it is crucial to take part in these opportunities to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy and continue the fight for equality and justice.
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