Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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A visionary, leader, and a man that stood for change during his time and beyond is who Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was and still is. Celebrations thought out the world took place on Monday, January 16th, including a march that started at the Washington Center and concluded at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).

The march was another visual demonstration of seeing people come together as one as we continue to take steps toward Dr. King’s vision more than 60 years ago. Community members shared how that vision lives on. “There can be improvements, but I feel like we are doing really well. I totally feel comfortable here. I hear about a ton of stuff, and people from the community always show up and are just very welcoming and very understanding about everything that is going on,” 8th grader Zelalem Oestreich.

“We clearly have a space that is not integrated, that hasn’t fully embraced the community as a whole. When I say embrace, I do not just mean the surface stuff. I don’t just mean being able to see where folks are. I mean actually having the communities that are here represented on the whole,” Pastor Anthony Galloway of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church mentioned.

Entrepreneur Fund Business Adviser Stephanie Williams added, “There are lots of ways that we are doing well. There are lots of things that we could do better, absolutely. Events like this that bring the community together are really important. I was the emcee at the breakfast this morning, and so it’s just really great to see people from all walks of life in all religions coming together to honor the memory and the legacy of Dr. King.”

Along with vision, justice and equality for all have definitely been at the top of discussions. “Here in the United States, we have a long way to go for justice to mean actual justice and to be equal for everyone. So, Duluth is no different than the rest of the climate of the country. We have a long way to go, but people are doing the work and trying to make changes,” Williams shared.

Communities around the world have and will continue to integrate themselves. Here in Duluth, keeping and recruiting BIPOC members is obtainable, but it can and has come with challenges. “First of all, it’s going to take hubs, it’s going to take spaces that are allowed to be unapologetically black. For example, just use that community, and there are multiple communities that we can talk about,” Pastor Galloway explained.

Providing support for those currently in the area and anyone looking to relocate to the Twin Ports is something that Williams shares that can be important for the community to grow. “I think it definitely takes effort on the part of black and brown folks here already in Duluth. We need to come together. We need to unite, and we need to really be a support group for each other. It’s hard to be a person of color in this community when there are not a lot of people that look like us. So just knowing that you have support and you have like a family to love on you and keep you here and support you.”