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Kingsport parade strives to continue Dr. King’s legacy

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 21 2013 03:39:24 PM CST
mlk parade
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

A local community paid tribute Monday to a hero of equality. Dozens of people paraded down the streets of Kingsport to keep Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream alive in celebration of his birthday.

It's a walk that might mean something a little different for everybody on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"For me, it means a level of equality, unity really, that regardless of where I've come from, what my conditions of life are, that I can still have an opportunity to experience greatness," said Ricardo Dorcean, pastor of Central Baptist Church and a participant in the Kingsport's 13th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.

We learned this community parade serves one purpose; continuing the work of Dr. King's legacy.

"We believe that Dr. King really made an impact on the country as well as the world, and one of the things we want to do here in Kingsport is keep the dream alive," said Overseer Ronnie Collins, the parade organizer.

For these marchers, we learned that dream reaches far beyond racial equality in today's society.

"Whether it's the judicial system or corporate America, whether it's your race or your gender," Dorcean began to say.

"We're here to raise awareness and speak out for the injustice of our ecological mess that we've created," said Carol Landis before walking in the parade.

With every step, comes hope for the future.

"We need to encourage from the ground roots all the way to the White House, how do we get people to work together to accomplish the good for all people?" asked Collins.

Organizers said marching year after year helps teach younger generations about justice in our society.

"It's them [who is] going to carry this on. It won't be us," Collins went on to say.

14-year-old Tyrik Hale said even though he doesn't know what segregation was like, Dr. King has made a lasting impression on how to live life as a teenager in today's world.

"Don't worry about what other people think of you. Do what you want to do. Follow your dreams," Hale told us.

That dream may be like one we heard about almost 50 years ago, for a nation, or even just a community, to live together in peace.

"We can change society, but it starts one heart at a time," Collins said with emotion.