CI Heroes: King Holiday Committee Leaders

Honoring MLK, calling on the next generation

PEORIA - "We've come a long ways from that time, but we got a long ways to go also,” says Ted Jenkins, a Vietnam Veteran and MLK Marcher.

Leading the charge for a better tomorrow, dozens of supporters took to the streets of Peoria to march for what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for and to bring attention to what still needs to change, today.

Some marchers were new. Others have been there since the beginning.Their devotion to make a difference is making them CI Heroes.


Since she was a young girl, Dr. Rita Ali has been marching and helping organize as part of The King Holiday Committee of Peoria.


“It's near and dear to my heart to fight for justice and social change,” Dr. Ali says.


But she says now, it's time for the younger generation to take a stand like never before.


“We want to see more young people engaged in the civil rights process. We want them to take a stand as they did in the earlier civil rights movement."


Lamar Anderson is part of that movement.

He's a march leader and resource coordinator at Peoria's Manual Academy.

He says teaching what this march really means to students is a cornerstone of his career.


Anderson says, “What we hope is they come back to school on Tuesday and not talk about they played play station, went shopping, slept in, they did something productive."


 It's catching on with students like Dawson Hubbard.


“Martin Luther King did something for so many people and I’m just here to show my respect and to show without him, we wouldn't be able to have the lives we have today," Hubbard says.


And this year's march is taking Dr. King's message one step further, so everyone knows they are the ones accountable, holding the power for true change.

“This is something we need to be doing, we can't depend on other people to do it for us,” Anderson adds.


The King Holiday Committee also organizes the MLK Commemorative Service and Awards Ceremony following the march every year.


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