Merced residents lift up their voices, honor MLK’s message of unity, equality
Residents from all walks of life gathered at the Merced County Fairgrounds on Monday morning and proceeded to walk toward the Merced Theatre, all the way up Martin Luther King Jr. Way, to celebrate the street’s namesake, and his message of unity and equality, on his national holiday.
The Peace and Unity March in Merced on MLK Jr. Day is a tradition that goes back more than a quarter century — thanks to many dedicated community members who have lifted their voices, and continue to lift their voices.
“If we forget what Dr. King stood for, then his life was in vain,” Pastor Sam Emory told those who joined the celebration after the march. “If we forget his sacrifice, then all of our slogans are worthless. If we don’t hear what he said, and inject it, and let it become a part of who we are today, then Dr. King died in vain. …
“I’m not willing to happen on my watch.
“At some point you have to understand that Dr. King became greater than the time that he was in. And so that has done one thing for you and I. It has paved the way for us to become greater than the times that we are in. You don’t have to be a slave of time. You can overcome. … We shall overcome some day. And the only thing I have to overcome is myself. If I can overcome myself, I have overcame the world. If I can get out of my own self, and see around me the things that need to happen — not to just make my life better, but to make life better for my children. …”
This year, the festivities were perhaps not as well attended due to the recent Omicron surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was better than being canceled like the event was last year. The local MLK Jr. Committee did a wonderful job of helping to provide numerous activities that spanned the entire weekend.
Here’s a photo gallery of all the happenings: