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“We are still fighting”: Hundreds join annual MLK Jr march in Gainesville

“We are still fighting”: Hundreds join annual MLK Jr march in Gainesville
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:11 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Martin Luther King Jr day events expand beyond just the day in Gainesville but people are using the federal holiday to recognize the civil rights leader’s legacy.

“We are still fighting,” said the 2022 Keeper of the Dream Scholarship recipient, Gabrielle Gregory. “Police brutality, racism, discrimination is all a big part of our society right now. There are a lot of African-Americans who are suffering and I feel like they just need someone to speak up.”

The P.K. Yonge senior received the $7,500 award from the MLK Jr Commission of Florida to be used over four years as she transitions to college life. As the winner, Gregory spoke at a number of MLK events this year hoping to inspire as hundreds march in remembrance on the holiday.

RELATED STORY: The Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida hosted a remembrance of MLK and Coretta Scott King at Dayspring Baptist Church

“It means a lot,” said Gregory. “My brother got it two years ago so I was very inspired by him so when I applied and I got the award I was so excited just to be able to speak up and speak out about this issue.”

The annual march is meant to serve as a reminder of the work that leaders say still needs to be done for equality in this community. Town halls, enshrinements, unveiling and commemorations marked the series of events leading up to the march.

Gainesville resident
Gainesville resident

“I’ve seen our city change for the better all because of the dream of one man,” said Gainesville resident, Jacqueline Collins. She invited her friend, Chris Overstreet, who joined the MLK celebration for the first time ever. “And I’m so glad that you invited me,” added Overstreet.

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The pair witnessed the late Judge Stephan Mickle enshrined as the 2022 MLK Hall of Fame recipient before marching to East Gainesville. Overstreet shared why celebrating the legacy of MLK Jr. was a first-time experience.

“We are still fighting”: Hundreds join annual MLK Jr march in Gainesville

“I was born in Germany a long time ago. I taught at UF. I taught German for 30-something years and I’ve never been out here on the street,” said Overstreet. “You know, and honestly I’m really excited about being here and celebrating this man that I am reading about.”

As the march turns to celebration, songs of gospel and praise met the crowd at Citizen’s Field in honor of the civil rights giant.

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