Martin Luther King, Jr. honored with events around Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

Every year since, people across the country have marched in his honor, including here in the Valley.

Hundreds of Valley residents say they are still energized by his teachings and commitment to the dignity of all people.

In a scene reminiscent of the marches of Martin Luther King, Jr. a mixed crowd of young and old set off together in Fresno.

A law enforcement escort led them to Fresno City Hall where retired city council member Les Kimber spoke of the importance of marking this day, every year and keeping the flame of freedom burning.

"We can't stop until the transformation of this country from one the was exclusive for hundred's of years that now has become inclusive for all of its people," Kimber said.

For Velma Stephens, it was a day to rejoice in hard-earned freedoms and remember the man who taught African Americans to believe in themselves.

"I'm just so excited that so many people would come out and join in the life and legacy of Martin Luther King," Stephens said.

Fresno City Council Member Oliver Baines asked those gather to help build a collective unity to meet the needs of children and families.

"Can we all agree that all of our neighborhoods should be safe and all of our kids are entitled to a good education? Aren't these issues we all can agree on?" Baines said.

The march ended at the Fresno Memorial Building, where many of those in the MLK march filled the theater for a celebration of community diversity and culture.

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In the North Valley, hundreds of people walked through the streets of Merced to honor the life of Dr. King.

Among them was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American aviators to serve the United States.

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