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“Unity” theme of MLK celebration

Hundreds of community members within Pearl River County gathered on a chilly Monday morning to celebrate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message.

Marching from Pleasant Valley Baptist Church down Rosa Street toward their destination of Rose of Sharon Church of God in Christ, participants in this year’s march shared the message of unity as people of various races walked side by side and at times hand in hand through the streets of Picayune.

Larry Breland, a member of Picayune’s City Council and organizer of the annual event, could be seen stopping along the route to take in the huge turnout at Monday’s event.

During the service that followed the parade, Rev. Edward Stubbs told attendees that racism can be defeated in the home when parents and grandparents take the time to teach their children.

Elder David Simmons with Rose of Sharon used an analogy of The Beverly Hillbillies theme song to describe how everyone in the community is welcome when they focus on unity rather than differences.

City Manager Jim Luke spoke about King’s message of love over hate, and that all of King’s teachings need to be passed on to the generations who follow.

Rev. Charlie Wash, who represented the Pearl River County NAACP, said that if King was still alive today, he would encourage everyone to love God, and for the community to teach their children about unity, because those teachings start in the home.

Bro. Chuck Wale described racism as a giant, and defeating that giant is similar to the story of David and Goliath. When people in a community defeat their personal giants of racism, they can move past painful pasts, hurtful words and injustices to relieve themselves of the burden of racism.