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Rochester Celebrates MLK Day

Musical performances at Eastman Theater for MLK Celebration
Veronica Volk
Musical performances at Eastman Theater for MLK Celebration

Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated and remembered in different ways across Rochester.

The Eastman Theater held it's 30th annual MLK Celebration. People came together in Kodak Hall to reflect on the life of Dr King, and the importance of his message at a time when racial tension across the country seems so high. Local and state officials, residents, and performers gathered to celebrate by listening, speaking, and singing.

Mayor Lovely Warren began with her favorite King quote.

"If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."

Warren says the Rochester community must keep moving forward. Many speakers at the celebration voiced similar opinions, that King's words ring true today and as a community we should carry out his legacy through our actions toward one another.

Down the street at the Strong Museum, Greater Rochester's YMCA had a celebration of their own. At a time when King's words seem to hold even more weight than usual, Sara Cole of the YMCA says she's excited to teach kids about him.

"I think its so important that kids everywhere know about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr and everything that he fought for."

But what does King's legacy actually mean to kids? Harmony Archibald is 8 years old.

"He's the reason why black people and white people -- they can sit at the same table together and they can share playgrounds together at schools and they can all play together."

Ay'rianna Moore also reflected on King's legacy.

"He's the one that we follow, the one who's a role model to everyone, so that's what I'm trying to be for him."

Right: Harmony Archibald. Left: Ay'rianna Moore.
Right: Harmony Archibald. Left: Ay'rianna Moore.

Harmony and Ay'rianna were just two of several kids involved in the tribute at Strong. Part of the celebration involved a performance of King's I have a dream speech and afterward, the performers shared their own dreams for the future. Harmony again:

"My dream is to be a singer, and to let other people pursue their dream, not let it go."

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.