There were many tributes happening around the state honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Cheshire, there was an anti-racism children’s march. Hundreds of people, of various races and ages, came here to honor a man who broke social barriers and left a blueprint for generations to follow.
Aiming to elevate the voices of children, families gathered at St. Peters Church before hitting the street for a peaceful march.
“It’s important to us to show our children that everyone is equal, and they do have friends in their community that support them,” said Sandra Zanbraradford, who attended with her son and daughter.
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Walking the streets of Cheshire, there was unity and love - principles of Dr. King’s teachings.
“It’s great. Everybody coming together. United, just coming together for Martin Luther King on this day,” said Brian Hardy of Waterbury.
As church bells rang, people marched, reflecting on what Martin Luther King means to them.
“He’s someone that looked out for the community, Blacks and whites, and wanted us to be equal,” said Mekhi Petteway of Waterbury.
“For me, it represents celebrating all people. Celebrating where we come from and how much farther we still have to go,” said Melissa New of Cheshire, who attended with her two sons ages six and eight.
Not every community, however, was able to celebrate in person. West Hartford held its tribute online.
Students from Conard and Hall High School, joined by community leaders, reflected on Dr. King’s legacy.
“He was our prophet of justice, apostle of non-violence, and pastor tending to the soul of this nation,” said Dr. John L. Selders, Jr. of the Amistad United Church of Christ.
The virtual event included several musical tributes from the choirs of Conard and Hall High schools. “We Are The World” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” were among the highlighted songs performed.
This was the 26th consecutive year West Hartford paid tribute, continuing to call for social progress.
“Are you willing to call out your neighbors' casual racism about the immigrant family living across the street? Are you willing to ask your boss why there are no people of color working in your office?” asked Janee Woods Weber, the event’s keynote speaker.
Joining social equity advocates were two high school student speakers, both citing King’s philosophies outlined in his book, “Strength to Love.”
“Hate multiplies hate. Violence multiplies violence. Toughness multiplies toughness, and a descending spiral of destruction,” said Grace Wright-Goodison of Hall High School, reiterating King’s words.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy,” recited Skylah Nelson of Conard High School.
Also in West Hartford, the Jewish Community Center honored Dr. King by collecting food and clothing items which were later distributed to people in need.