By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 21, 2019
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Valdosta community hit the pavement Monday to honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Valdosta State University chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. Hundreds of students and community members filled the streets near campus in unity.
"The purpose of this march is to raise awareness of the legacy and life of Dr. King, who was one of our fraternity brothers, as well," said Jamontray Mike, Mu Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. President. "To just reiterate the message of unity. The issues he faced in the past during the Civil Rights Movement as far as social injustice, we continue to face today. So, every year we try to bring the campus and the community together to remember him and remind them of his message."
Many students and staff members in attendance said participating in the event helps to inspire others to keep fighting, because his work is never done.
"Racism is a systemic issue, meaning that it starts within society, and until we get rid of that systemic, racial, those racial tones in our country, we're going to need to continue to march and to carry out that dream that Martin Luther King Jr. had," said Bobbi Hancock, march attendee.
NAACP at Valdosta State Chapter President D'Layna Jonas has been attending the event for years, hoping others do the same.
"I wanted to be the change I want to see on this campus, and I want to help the underclassmen see that they are that change," Jonas said. "They know that they matter, that their voice matters, everything they do on campus matters. It goes towards continuing that legacy."
Following the march and program, many students stepped off the streets and into community service. Students honored Dr. King hands on, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
"[Volunteering] brings together the community. He fought for equal rights for all races, all genders. There was no specific person, no specific type of people, so this just brings us all together as one," said volunteer Barrington Barrett II.
Students helped build a home for someone in need, led by the example set by Martin Luther King Jr.
"He was big into like, giving back and everyone coming together to help the common good, which is what we're doing here. I think it's a good way to remember him on this day," said volunteer Kaynal Davis. "Spreading kindness, which is what we need more of."
Each stroke of the brush, spreading a message of equality and unity, remembering what his legacy is all about.
The MLK Jr. Day march and program is an annual event. Organizers hope it continues to grow each year.