Every year on the day dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and death, Brazos Valley residents hold a march to commemorate his legacy.
The Brazos Valley Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hosted its 24th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom March. The march commenced at 10 a.m. on Jan. 20 at Sadie Thomas Park in Bryan and ended at Kemp Elementary. Once there, the march went into its annual MLK program, which consisted of a performance by the Kemp Elementary choir and other local talent from throughout the Brazos Valley such as the honor choir from International Leadership Charter School and the Kemp Carver Notables. Mia Moody-Ramirez, a professor of mass communication at Baylor University, spoke at Monday morning’s event.
Olivia Body-Davenport, president of the Brazos Valley Area Alumnae Chapter, said the purpose of the march is to remember MLK and everything he stood for.
“The march commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King,” Body-Davenport said. “It's been 24 years and we do it every year. We have the community come out and celebrate with us and connect. We do it in unity throughout the Brazos Valley.”
Body-Davenport said the legacy of MLK is important to remember because he fought for everyone, regardless of race, color or religion.
“It’s important because it allows us to keep his dream alive,” Body-Davenport said. “We want to live in unity with one another, equality for all people.”
Agnes Gray, a former president of the Brazos Valley Area Alumnae Chapter and community chairperson for the MLK March, said the most important factor driving each year’s gathering is to educate today’s youth.
“We want to keep young people in the community aware of who MLK is,” Gray said. “Most people of young age nowadays don’t know what [Martin Luther King Jr.] is about, so we try to keep the standing of what he fought for.”
Every year differs in the number of people who decide to participate, Gray said, with approximately 1,500 people taking part in this year’s MLK March.
“We’ve had several audiences of over one thousand but we usually get at least 900,” Gray said. “Last year we had one of our biggest yet with around 1,100 people showing up.”
Throughout the decades, the community has come to embody the spirit and legacy of MLK, Gray said.
“[We’re] overcome with the growth of the community, how the community has come to embrace the same spirit that we originally had when we started this,” Gray said. “We’re overjoyed about keeping young people aware of [MLK’s legacy], we’re overjoyed about keeping the dream alive.”