King's legacy celebrated
Marc Valero | Highlands TodayAVON PARK - A weekend of activities commemorating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. culminated Monday with the annual prayer breakfast and parade in Avon Park.
Published: January 22, 2013
Published: January 22, 2013
More than 300 attended the Highlands County Branch NAACP Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast at the Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church's Grogan Center.
Maxine Floyd, who offered the welcome, said King's impact and legacy has lived on, noting that President Barack Obama was being sworn in for his second term as president.
Obama's remarks about King were shown on the large screen in the center.
Entertainment included the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Male Chorus, which lifted spirits with the gospel song, "I feel Like Going On."
Five members of the "Dress for Success" group of young men from Avon Park High School spoke about King's legacy.
Ninth-grader Jah Cook said: "Today, we celebrate a day of service and work, not a day of rest. We honor Dr. King's fight for peace, justice and civil rights for everyone, today and every day."
Keynote speaker Pastor E. Telefair Pickett of World Alive Ministries, Lakeland, offered a sermon about understanding the political and social times in order to know what to do and how to move forward through faith in the Lord.
Padrika Sheppard and her 8-year-old grand-daughter, Jonkariah Pough, attended the prayer breakfast. Sheppard said she wanted her grand-daughter to grow up to know that the changes King made were very important.
"I think it is very important that we bring up our young people knowing what MLK Day is and what Martin Luther King stood for," she said.
As a child, Sheppard said she remembered seeing King on television.
"I remember my mother talking about him; my parents brought me up knowing what was going on," Sheppard said.
Jonkariah, a Park Elementary student, said the students wrote papers and watched videos about King in school.
What would she tell someone about Martin Luther King?
"He made freedom for black and white people to go to school together and play with each other," Jonkariah said.
MLK committee chairman Arnold Wilson described this year's event as "one of the most successful Martin Luther King Prayer breakfasts that we have ever had; attendance was 300 plus."
Pickett gave the word of moving forward, right out of the Bible, he said.
Later in the day, spectators gathered along Main Street in Avon Park to view the MLK parade.
Wanda Dunn said it will be the first MLK parade for her 15-month-old grandson, A'Monte Wright.
Dunn said she will be looking for her cousins in the parade who are football players and cheerleaders.
When she thinks of Martin Luther King, she thinks of "the dream … bringing us all together without seeing color."
Dunn's son, Romeo, who is a junior at Avon Park High, said King was a great civil rights leader. He led the way for most people to do what they can now, like get most jobs and vote.
The parade had two grand marshals: retired NASA engineer L.C. Sumbry and Avon Park High School Principal Tealy Williams.
A couple of the walking participants and some of the vehicles had signs displaying the parade's theme: "One Dream, One Vision."
After the parade, Southside CRA Chairman Gerald Snell thanked the spectators.
Snell, who served as the MLK Festival chairman, said, "This is the best yet."
He estimated the turnout at around 500, spread out over the parade route on Main Street. After the parade, some headed over to the MLK Festival activities at Memorial Field.
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