LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It was 1968, the year Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. A country was left trying to hold on to his message.
It wouldn’t be until 18 years later that President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5431, designating King’s birthday as a national holiday.
It’s now been celebrated federally for 33 years, and the holiday still calls attention to progress that still needs to be made.
Outside Hughlett Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, the PRIDE motorcade, the theme of this year’s ceremony was stop the violence, stop the killing.
The Archdiocese of Louisville had its own message, holding a real conversation about racism.
“Never lose sight of his message,” M. Annette Turner, the Executive Director of The Office of Multicultural Ministry told WAVE 3 News.
Through the music echoing at AMPED, the message there was about college readiness. The encouragement, resources and tools were all together, promoting what King would want to see.
“If we can get them college-educated, get them understanding at middle school age that it’s important, then our goal is halfway met,” AMPED Education Director Melanie Christopher said.
While the events focused somewhat on the future, there was plenty of time to reflect on the steps already taken in King’s shadow.
“I’m here because I’m free to even be here, honestly,” a woman told WAVE 3 News outside of the Zion Church.