Freedom march around downtown celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy


Participants in the Lexington Martin Luther King Day parade march downtown on Monday, January 18, 2016 in Lexington, Ky.

Megan Brown

The 44th annual Martin Luther King Jr. event will kick off with a march around downtown Lexington Monday.

The event, organized by UK along with Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, started in 1973 with a march around campus, but as the event grew the march moved to downtown Lexington.

The theme for this year is “Building a New Movement for a New Generation.”

The freedom march starts at 10:00 a.m. at Heritage Hall in the Lexington Convention Center, followed by a Commemorative Program with speaker Rev. Otis Moss III.

Moss is the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ and has spent the past 20 years bringing attention to problems of mass incarnation, economic inequality and environmental justice.

He was also instrumental in creating the “My Life Matters” curriculum which included the “Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival,” video created after Ferguson police killed teenager Michael Brown after he robbed a convenience store.

Following the march there is a resource fair in Heritage Hall and a free showing of “Race — The Jesse Owens Story” at 2:30 p.m.

It is the story about a sharecropper’s son who wins four gold medals in track and defies Hitler’s declaration that African-Americans would not be able to participate in the Berlin Olympics.

The Harlem Globetrotters will also bring their tour to Rupp at 2:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online and a there is a $10 discount for any participants in the MLK event.

“Committed” a male acapella group from Alabama and the season two winner of NBC’s Sing Off, will be performing as the cultural artist of the year.

Buck Ryan a journalism professor at UK and the director of the Citizen’s Kentucky Project of UK’s Scripps Howard First Amendment Center explains why he walks in the parade and encourages his students to do the same with him.

“For my journalism students, I offer extra credit to march with me each year,” Ryan said. “That way I can introduce them to the city’s movers-and-shakers as they pay homage with me to Dr. King’s legacy of courage, persistence, and social change and justice.