• 66°

Parade celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day

MLK1

CELEBRATORY MARCH: Various groups and individuals participated in an annual parade to commemorate the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Event Chairperson from Martin Luther King Day Committee, Etta Scott, said this is the tenth year of the parade and celebration program. Photo by Ashley Collins

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, local residents participated in an annual parade to commemorate the late civil rights leader.

The parade began at around 10 a.m. on Goodyear Boulevard near Picayune’s City Hall. Throughout the procession, participants threw candy and beads to parade onlookers. Various community groups and individuals joined in on the celebration including, the local NJROTC, Motor Cycle Riders Ministry, Picayune Memorial High School’s band, Blue Diamond Dance team, the police department, the sheriff’s department, the NAACP, along with Picayune Major Ed Pinero, Grand Marshall Constance Doby and various local churches.

The celebratory procession was escorted by the Picayune Police Department, who guided the march down Goodyear Boulevard, Main Street, Rosa Street, and finally Beech Street before ending at Rose of Sharon Church of God in Christ, where the second- half of the celebration honoring Dr. King took place.

PARADE: Parade procession approaching towards the Rose of Sharon Church of God in Christ. Photo by Ashley Collins.

PARADE DESTINATION: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade approaching the Rose of Sharon Church of God in Christ, where the second half of the celebration honoring Dr. King took place. Photo by Ashley Collins.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Committee sponsored the program. This year’s theme was “Honoring the past and preserving the future.”

Etta Scott, event chairperson of the committee, said the program has been recurring for the last 10 years.

“It’s important for young people to know the struggles we’ve had, of not just black people, but everyone who’s gone through hardships, like women and children. Also for them to understand where we’ve come from and where we’re going. Martin Luther King preached for equality for everyone,” Scott said.

Johnnie M. Roberts, member of the committee, added that she’s

honored to be part of the event.

”We do this in the honor of Martin Luther King Jr. because of all the endeavors he went through his life, so we can have freedom of speech and rights,” Roberts said.

The program held at the church included prayer, a tribute to Dr. King, the Gospel Community Choir, church speakers, comments by Mayor Pinero, and keynote speaker Rev. Kenneth M. Thomas from the New Hebron Baptist Church in Carriere.

Thomas’s main message at the service was for people to look at where society has been and where society is now.

“My message is about the danger of doing business as usual,” Thomas said. He went on to say that between the recent events of Ferguson, Mo. and New York City, society must address those social issues, in order for “everyone to feel like they can reach the American Dream,” Thomas said.

The service concluded with a benediction and blessing of food by Rev. Thomas.