Local events include march and worship service in Daytona

Local clergy lead residents during the MLK Day march in Daytona Beach.


Events honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the federal holiday returned to Daytona Beach this year and organizers were pleased with the outcome.

Hundreds braved chilly temperatures to participate in Monday’s march, which was followed by a worship service at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church. Monday morning’s MLK activities in Daytona started with a breakfast at the church, followed by the community march.

The Rev. Derrick McRae of The Experience Christian Center of Orlando was the speaker at the church service.

Welcome return

The events returned to Daytona after a countywide celebration last year in DeLand observing the 50th anniversary of King’s death. Last year’s 50th MLK Day Celebration was a countywide celebration with a march from Stetson University to Earl Brown Park in DeLand followed by a community festival.


“I think this year’s activities were a success. Yes, there is room for improvement, but it was a success. It was great to have the events local again. People actually missed doing it here last year. It was welcomed on the east side of the county,” said the Rev. Nathan Mugala, chair of the chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration for Florida and pastor of Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church.

Mugala reiterated the need to continue to honor the dream and legacy of King. “It’s important for us as a people to continue to keep his legacy alive, especially for our young people so that they know that we have come a long way and still have a long ways to go,” he remarked.

Youth represented

Young people like Renaldo Yaa, 7, marched with the clergy and other adults.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave freedom to all people and it is important to honor him,” Renaldo, a student at Palm Terrace Elementary, told the Daytona Times during the march.

Blake Minter, a junior accounting major at Bethune-Cookman University, participated in MLK Day events in Daytona Beach with her sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

“I thought it was a great idea to come out and give back to our community. Martin Luther King was one of many of the civil rights activists that paved the way for Black people in general and just for equality,” she told the Times.

“I feel it’s important that we honor his legacy for that. There is definitely more work to be done. Racism is still hidden in our society. Some of the same problems still exist today. I don’t even know how a Dr. King would fight today,’’ she added.

‘Moving forward’

Debra Thompson sees a day when others will rise up and be leaders like King.

“I came out because I believe in Dr. Martin Luther King work and the words that he spoke. I try to live my life that way. His message was about freedom and justice,” she said.

“We have overcome and we’re moving forward but must continue working. Black people need to show and have more unity. Somewhere in the future there will be other leaders like King and Malcolm X coming up.’’

Scholarships presented

Other MLK events in Daytona Beach included a Gospel Explosion on Jan. 13 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and “7 Words From The King” InterFaith Worship Service on Jan. 20 at Master’s Domain Church of God In Christ.

During the service at Master’s Domain, the Daytona Beach MLK Committee gave out scholarships to high school seniors who plan to attend college.

Recipients of $1,000 scholarships were Kagiena Badie and Jasmine Robinson (Atlantic High School), Nia Hill and Aliyah Merrick (New Smyrna Beach High), La’Karla Moore (Seabreeze High), and Camron Wright (Mainland High).

A $1,000 Trayvon Martin memorial scholarship was awarded to Destiny Harris, a student at Seabreeze.

Other MLK Day events in Volusia County were held in Ormond Beach and DeLand.


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