President of NAACP says he hopes the same spirit today carries onto Election Day

Local News

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be celebrating his 90th birthday if he were alive today. Members of the Erie community say his legacy will not be forgotten.  

More than 50 years after the death of Dr. King, community members say his accomplishments still hold great meaning.

Hundreds gather in downtown Erie, braving single-digit temperatures and below zero wind factors to walk alongside their neighbors, some singing, “Just like the tree that’s planted by the water, we shall not be moved”.

Marching in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Belinda Pope says, “I try to do it every year and I enjoy it every year. Even though how cold it might be, I love it.”

Participants spreading a message of unity, inclusion, and perseverance.  The president of the local NAACP Chapter believes Dr. King would have something to say about the crossroads in Erie. Gary Horton saying, “We’ve got growing poverty on one hand. We have economic opportunity on the other and we have a mayor who appears to be willing to be a bridge between those two forces.” 

Although decades have passed, activists say the words of Dr. King are still equally as meaningful today in 2019.

Erie Resident Steve Cooley says, “It’s still so important. He’s done lots of work and yet there’s still much work to be done. We have made progress but there is still more progress that needs to be done.” 

Looking at the crowd, Horton reflects on the brave men and women who took to the streets during the Civil Rights Movement, including his mother and father.

Horton says, “They would look and hope that these people are turning out on Election Day with the same spirit. I think they would look and hope that these people are attending school board meetings and city council meetings where change is really made.” 

He says this activism has to continue beyond just the gathering today.  He tells us in many ways, they’re marching for economic equality and equal opportunity.

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