Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose - 21Alive

January 20, 2014 Updated Jan 20, 2014 at 6:13 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- Living the dream or still working on making it a reality?

Fort Wayne’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Club hosted its 29th annual Unity Celebration at the Grand Wayne Center on Monday.

Hundreds of people attended the state's largest daylong celebration of Dr. King, his example, and his legacy.

One man who takes Dr. King's work for equality to heart is Fort Wayne's first black police chief.

"Every day when I wake up, but in particular today, it brings you back to all the struggles that people like Martin Luther King went through to help people like myself get elevated," Garry Hamilton says.

And people say those struggles made a difference, then, and now decades later.

"Just the advance in education, people have the opportunity to go to school, get a good education. And it means a lot to have that educational background to fit into society and be successful.," says MKL Club member Glen Lee.

"Work as equal opportunity, for us not to have to sit on the back of the bus is one, for us not only as black people but as women to be able to work in the workforce environment, just like anyone else. Have equal opportunities," says Endia Johnson.

However, the day's keynote speaker says unemployment and dropout rates for African Americans are twice that of Caucasians, and that blacks make up 12% of the country, but 40% of the prison population.

But he says his message of spreading doctor king's love for all people includes not giving up on the young ones.

"If their life appears hopeless, they didn't prosper educationally, they don't have employment outlooks to look into, what are they going to turn to? And then if we, who appear to be successful in this community, don't reach out and go to them and meet them where they are, if we don't do that then we're nothing more than malcontents who are just sitting there complaining about the problem.," says Dr. Carl Mack.

As Dr. King said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

People here say there has been progress, but work still needs to be done.




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