35th annual Freedom March goes forward, with changes

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Central Illinois is remembering the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, the Peoria Martin Luther King Holiday Committee held their 35th annual Freedom March.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr didn’t let much deter him in his fight for racial equality. So it’s fitting organizers of the Freedom March in Peoria took on the same attitude, making sure this year’s event happened despite COVID-19.

“I think it goes right along with the legacy of Dr. King, you know, they never stopped,” said Pam Adams, member of Peoria MLK Holiday Committee.

The Freedom March was changed to a parade with dozens of cars traveling several streets from Bradley University to Manual Academy.

The event brought out some who said they’ve been a participant since it’s start, decades ago.

“For year’s we’ve been coming out. If we’re not marching, I’ll bring my dad out and drive through it,” said Brandyn Cagle, a participant in the Freedom March.

Cagle says Dr. King sacrificed so much, so honoring his work is something he will continue to do.

“Martin Luther went through a lot for us to be able to have the equalities that we have and so it’s very important for us to keep them up,” Cagle said.

Adams says she hopes the parade encouraged people to take a deeper look into Dr. King’s legacy and all he stood for.

“He talked about the beloved community and what that means as far as respecting all human dignity, and a living wage, and peace, and justice,” Adams said.

After a year marked with discussions and protests about racial injustice, and a pandemic continuing to create hardships for many, Adams says there is no better time to honor Dr. King.

“This is more important than ever because so much of what he did speaks to this moment,” Adams said.

Monday’s parade ended with a drive-in service where the MLK Drum Major awards were presented to the winners.

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