FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Americans across the country and here in the Valley are paying tribute to civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Hundreds gathered outside of Saint John's Cathedral to march through the foggy streets of downtown Fresno in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Monday would have been the civil rights leader's 95th birthday.
The march took people to the front of city hall and then to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Fresno Street.
"He was a trailblazer. He was definitely somebody we looked up to," said Fresno resident Cedric Pulliam.
Pulliam was part of the same fraternity Dr. King joined when he was in college, Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated.
He said he's still inspired by the words the reverend shared and the work he did to advance equality.
Inside the auditorium, the African Drum Interactive group kicked off the commemoration program, which was hosted by a familiar face.
Action News' very own Brianna Willis welcomed attendees and introduced keynote speakers, including Emiliano Aranda.
"Why am I 18 and worried if my future has a fighting chance?" Aranda asked.
The Washington Union High School student said he hopes to inspire action the same way Dr. King did almost 61 years ago.
"When it comes to things like MLK's legacy and things like where communities don't get proper access to health care, I kind of saw it as a vessel for me to be like, 'Hey, these are things that I want to address," said Aranda.
Other keynote speakers hoped to bring awareness to the injustices of African Americans in 2024.
"Our freedoms are under attack- frankly. And it's important that we mark the progress that has occurred and remind people that the struggle is still not over," said California State Director Tara Lynn Gray.
She is the highest-ranking African-American economic development director working at the state level to protect small businesses.
Gray said she was touched by the day of events honoring Dr. King.
"It gives us a place to gather and create the unity required to continue in the fight and to achieve the progress we all want to achieve," said Gray.
The event marked the 40th annual celebration in honor of Dr. King in downtown Fresno.