DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Monday, January 16, 2023 was a day of service and unity. People across the Miami Valley took time to honor a man who fought to ensure every American, no matter their race, was treated equally.

Monday started with a day of service for Dayton Public Schools. Angela Worley, the Community Outreach Coordinator for DPS, said they held a donation drive to collect hygiene items to give to students in need.

“In addition to wrapping our arms around the community, we’re also teaching our students about helping themselves, helping each other, and the student that may be in need sitting right across from them that they may never have even thought of,” Worley explained.

In Troy, members of the community marched together across the town square to show their support for Dr. King and what he stood for.

Over in Fairborn, there was a celebration of unity. Sylvia Chess helped organize the Fairborn MLK Day event. She wanted everyone to come together as one and continue the legacy of Dr. King.

“Let people know that here in Fairborn that we are very diverse and we promote inclusiveness,” Chess said.

This was the first year the community held a Unity Walk. Clint Allen is a member of the Fairborn MLK Day Event Committee. He said they wanted to spread Dr. King’s message.

“It truly is about love. And that’s what his message was. His message was purely, simply, love, justice for all,” Allen said.

In Dayton, the United Way hosted an event to teach the younger generations about Dr. King and his impact.

“What we often find is that people my age had a natural connection to Dr. King because we were alive when Dr. King was here. But more and more, as a generations move, kids have less of a connection. So it’s really important for us to find ways to create opportunities so the kids can connect to Dr. King in different ways,” Tom Kelley, the President and CEO of the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, said.

The organization hosted activities which focused on advocacy and standing up for what you believe in; the same principles to which Dr. King dedicated his life.

“We hope we give them an opportunity to learn more about Dr. King, his message, and how he continues to have life after death for all of us,” Kelley said.

To learn more about the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, click here.