Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations begin in North Central Florida

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- The Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida kicked off its annual MLK Jr. program at Abiding Faith Christian church. This year marks the 36th anniversary and themed "A community in crisis, what's your response?" Organization President Rodney Long tells us what the event means to him.

"So for us, it's to remember and to reflect and to commemorate both of their lives. their accomplishments, the things they were allowed to do for this nation and to celebrate them. So that's why we're here tonight during King celebration because you can't celebrate Martin Luther King Jr without commemorating Coretta Scott King."

Tonight's event focused on the lives and sacrifices of MLK jr and his wife Coretta. Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority members taught people about the ups and downs of Dr. King's and Coretta's life through skits. Daryl Cooper explains why tonight is so significant to his fraternity.

"This event is quite significant to us because it allows us to continue and to perpetuate the legacy of none other than brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all of what his contributions have been to not only the fraternity but to all of mankind here in the United States and worldwide."

Songs, skits and special tributes highlighted the contributions of the King couple. Diyonne McGraw tells us how Coretta Scott King continued to be an activist after her husband's assassination...

"When you think about it, Dr. King was all about non-violence and even after his assassination on April 4, 1968, his wife continued in his footsteps. Preaching and teaching making movements across this country about non-violence."

Tonight's event was not only a way to commemorate the lives of Martin and Coretta but as a way to encourage unity and prayer throughout the community. The Martin Luther King Jr Commission of Florida will be hosting a marijuana industry town hall meeting tomorrow evening. And just like tonight's event, it will be open to the public.