ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – People in the Capital Region used Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to celebrate his life, his message, and the work still to be done in the civil rights movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday of every January despite his birthday being January 15. Communities throughout the Capital Region held ceremonies in honor of the national holiday.
Saratoga Springs continued with celebrations that began on Friday. Monday’s ceremony was held at the public library and featured performances by the Meta Theatre Company, the Arbor Hill Starlites Stepping Team and more. The keynote speaker was Karen Gaffney.
Glens Falls celebrated the day with a parade that began at city hall and ended at Christ Church United Methodist on Bay Street for a special service.
In Albany, the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance was held at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. The program featured Grammy Award winning singer Dorinda Clark-Cole as well as additional music, dancing and poetry from local groups.
The message of the ceremony was one of peace, social justice and equality – a message that many said needs to be continued by younger generations.
Amari Scott and Jayla Giles are both fifth graders at Pine Hills Elementary School in Albany. They said they became best friends on the first day of first grade.
“She stands up for me, she helps me with my homework, she helps me with everything,” Scott said. “She’s like the best, best friend ever.”
Monday morning, they helped celebrate MLK Jr. Day together.
“Today is a very important celebration of the man who stopped segregation because if he didn’t, then I wouldn’t be here with her, and she’s awesome,” Giles said.
It’s the work of Dr. King that people said needs to be remembered.
“With a joy, with a sense of living each and every day with love and peace; treating people equally,” New York State Office of General Services Deputy Commissioner Gail Hammond said.
It is also work they said that needs to be continued every day.
“But it’s also important that they be inspired to be able to step forward and kind of take control of their own lives and bring some of the same work forward and continue to bring it forward,” Underground Railroad History Project cofounder Paul Stewart said. “Because as I said before, there’s a lot that’s undone.”
Through music, dancing and poetry, Dr. King’s message was remembered on Monday.
“It makes me feel thankful that he did that for all of the people in the world so we can stand together as one big family,” Giles said.
Following the ceremony, the crowd marched from the Empire State Plaza to Lincoln Park where a ceremonial wreath was laid near the statue of Dr. King.