MLK Day: West Michigan Remembers, Celebrates Civil Rights Hero

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Whether it was a special lesson or march, several events were held Monday to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Students from different schools across Grand Rapids joined forces with Grand Rapids Community College to fill the streets downtown for a silent march at noon Monday. They held signs, and joined arms as they reflected on what the civil rights icon stood for and sacrificed to fight for equality.

"Students can reflect on the learning of the civil rights movement, everything that they learned about in terms of civil disobedience, peacful protests and what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for," explained Crossroads Middle School Teacher Kari Wilson. "It's not just a celebration for Black americans... it's a holiday for all Americans.

Most of the young students couldn't imagine how their lives would be if Martin Luther King Jr. hadn't fought and died for his dream of equal whites for everyone. Kaylee Peckham, an eighth grader at Crossroads Middle School, was grateful to remember King and how he changed the world.

"It means a lot to me because if he didn't fight for our freedom, I wouldn't be able to be friends with a lot of people who I'm friends with, because whites and blacks were separated," Peckham told FOX 17 News.

One of the biggest events celebrating the civil rights leader was set to be held at Grand Rapids Community College Monday night. The 26th annual Commemoration Program was slated to feature best-selling author Bakari Kitwana, and a variety of performances, inclusing music from famous local gospel singer Marvin Sapp.

Grand Valley State University and Davenport University co-sponsored the event.

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