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MLK March: Looking Back at Strides Made and Road Ahead

January 21st, 2019 by Jake Stofan

More than 200 marched on the state Capitol Monday morning in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Leaders of the march say with the passage of amendment 4 in November the state made a major stride towards realizing Dr. King’s dream.

Marchers gathered at the historic C.K. Steele Bus Terminal where civil rights protesters advocated for equality in the 1950’s.

Drums gave the cue to start.

Last year annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March focused on restoring felons’ right to vote.

Florida’s policy at the time disenfranchised more than one million people, disproportionately affecting minorities.

With the amendment’s passage organizers say Florida made a great stride towards racial justice.

“That all incorporated in Dr. King’s dream for us to live together in solid brotherhood and to that rock of brotherhood that stands,” said Tallahassee NAACP Chapter President Adner Marcelin. “Treating each other with the necessary respect and forgiveness.”

FAMU President Dr. Larry Robinson reminded the crowd, a single victory isn’t an excuse to stop fighting.

“Our work must go into overdrive now and we will not be able to take any days off,” said Robinson.

While last year felons right to vote was on minds of marchers, this year the ongoing government shut down loomed as a reminder of the deep divisions still present in today’s society.

Pastor Judy Mandrell says the countries leaders should take to heart the words of Dr. King and come to a resolution.

“Hatred can’t drive out hatred, but love can. Love is what can help us get in a better place,” said Mandrell.

Other issues organizers say still need to be addressed in both Florida and the nation, better access to healthcare, education and economic opportunity for minorities.

Dr. King would have turned 90 this year.

A memorial for King sits in the courtyard at the State Capitol. It was dedicated in 1984.

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