Daytona Beach ministers, residents continued a tradition of kicking off MLK Day with march
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Daytona Beach community joined the nation on Monday in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday observance. Hundreds of area residents participated in the annual ceremonies, which included a breakfast, march and worship service.
“We have been blessed to see this march gain popularity in the community. People look forward to it every year. It has become a staple of the weekend activities. It demonstrates us remembering Dr. King marching for our rights. This is appropriate rather than a parade to exemplify what he stood for,” said Dr. Ronald L. Durham, pastor of Greater Friendship Baptist Church.
Durham organized the event along with other members of the Daytona Black Clergy Alliance.
A breakfast was held at Allen Chapel AME Church followed by a march. The march started at the church and ended at Greater Friendship Baptist Church where a worship service took place. Dr. James P. Sampson, president of the Florida General Baptist Convention, was the guest speaker.
‘Work in progress’
The main goal of the event was to honor the legacy of King.
“His legacy is still a work in progress. His vision was far reaching and broader than I believe he realized at the time. We have seen things come to pass, but we still have a way to go in education and hiring practices,’’ Durham explained.
“We have a Black president. We will move forward to do things that we need to as African-Americans to be in full citizens in this country, which was (King’s) dream.’’
Those who participated in the events in Daytona Beach expressed pride but opinions differed on the fulfillment of King’s dream.
“It’s great to do this, but I think that more people should have come out. Some of what Dr. King wanted to happen has happened but more needs to happen and I believe that it will over time,” said Marlene Brooks.
Twelve-year-old Stephanie Correira participated in the march with her school Lourdes Academy of Daytona Beach.
“I think this is a good thing to do. We do it every year. Dr. King was a great man. His legacy and dream shows everyday in our school. We have people from all different cultures and I have been able to be friends with them. Diversity expands and changes our lives,’’ the seventh-grader told the Daytona Times.
Important for youth, community
Quinicia Stokes is the NAACP president at Bethune-Cookman University. The sociology major also participated in the ceremonies.
“This is a great thing to do to honor Dr. King, especially for the younger generation. Their generation is all about having a Black president. They don’t understand how far we have come. I also believe that King’s