Hundreds gather in Dayton’s Wright-Dunbar neighborhood to march on MLK Day

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Monday communities throughout the Miami Valley celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Some were held in person and others were held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

It was cold throughout, with snow flurries and a whipping wind at times, but more than 100 people marched, echoing Dr. King’s calls for solidarity. They say it’s important to remember that message everyday, not just today. 

Phillitia Charlton of Dayton says, “He’s so relevant today, now more than ever. But he never became irrelevant. It’s just showing us we’re more unified than we are divided.” 

Thousands of people gathered throughout the Miami Valley Monday to honor Dr. King. Some gatherings were in person, others online, but the message is the same, as Joshua Ward says, “It’s even more important, it’s imperative that we as parents do our part to teach our children how to live with the morals and integrity someone like Dr. King lived with.” 

Joshua’s son Isiah and his friends sometimes see and hear anger elsewhere, but he’s learning the message of peace at home. Isiah says, “I think it’s hard seeing things on tv, I think we are learning that.” 

Dr. King’s call for peaceful, nonviolent protest was thrust into the spotlight last summer. Sometimes people failed to adhere to those ideals when anger and inequity spilled over. But Eric Charlton says peaceful protest must be enough. “It is the impetus for change. You always want to try and navigate change constructively, and the only way to do it is to do it peacefully.” 

Much of the frustration and division from the past year has been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, impacting virtually every aspect of society. But the Reverend Dr. Chad White’s opening prayer Monday focused attention on what’s important when he said, “It’s not about the weather, it’s not about the fame. It’s about keeping the dream alive of nonviolence and peace within our community.” 

The University of Dayton hosted a virtual march and walk on campus. That can be viewed here

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