BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - People of all races, backgrounds and every walk of life came together Monday to send a message: We are stronger together.
“We need to come together, unite, and one big voice can make a difference,” said Gregory Barabino, president of the NAACP Hancock Co. chapter.
For the past several years, the Hancock County NAACP has organized this march in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.
The one and a half mile march started from Bay St. Louis' MLK park. It was a fitting starting point. Those participating saw the march as a way to continue the work of the slain civil rights leader.
“I believe in the dream that Dr. King expressed years and years ago, over 50 years ago, and his belief system in equality, equal rights for everyone," said Dr. Barbara Coatney, president of the Hancock Co. Federation of Democratic Women.
For some, the march is an illustration of Dr. King's dream.
“The spirit of racism, although we see a whole lot of it in the news, I believe it’s more tamed than ever. It’s a whole lot better than it has been," said Pastor Jeffrey Reed of Powerhouse of Deliverance Ministries.
It's also a reminder of how much work is still left to be done.
“A lot of people have gotten comfortable with the progress that we’ve made. They’re probably overlooking some of the things going on today because it’s a little more covert than it was in the 50′s and the 40′s and things of that nature," said Barabino.
And some say it sends a message fitting for this time.
“This country is in a turmoil. And the only thing that’s going to keep it together is the people that live in this country and believe in the rights of everyone in this country," said Coatney.
The march ended at Powerhouse of Deliverance Ministries with a commemorative service. Leaders expressed that the never ending journey for equality continues, step by step.
“We just hope that the spirit of MLK continues to thrive in every community, not only in our states in America, but across the world," said Reed.
Monday’s festivities concluded an entire weekend of MLK Day events organized by the Hancock County NAACP.