PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The 30th Annual MLK Luncheon in downtown Peoria kicked off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day by bringing the community together.

Nearly 800 attended in person and many others streamed from home in order to attend.

“I think we need to continue to work together to keep his dream alive,” said organizer Alma Brown. “That’s what he fought for his entire life.”

Peoria native and activist Garry Moore introduced this year’s keynote speaker.

“If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin,” he said. “Our keynote speaker had a son: it was Trayvon Martin.”

Sybrina Fulton addressed the crowd, sharing her heartbreaking experience after losing her son almost 10 years ago.

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, sparking nationwide protests.

“How did I find myself here?” Fulton said. “My 17-year-old unarmed son was not committing any crime, regardless of what you think you heard. He was not committing any crime. He didn’t have a weapon on him. But still, a 28-year-old man decided to follow my son, chase my son, profile my son, and shoot and kill my son.”

She said she felt alone and isolated after the tragedy, and one day had the idea to create the community she needed.

“I have an organization that’s called Circle of Mothers,” she said. “And we reach out to other mothers whose children are victims of senseless gun violence. It was a dream that I had. Didn’t Dr. King have a dream?”

Fulton called for action toward social change.

“We can no longer just like something on social media and think that we’re doing our part. You have to do action. An activist has to act,” she said.

Peoria Mayor Rita Ali said the luncheon serves as a way to honor Dr. King while bringing the Peoria community together. She said Fulton helped spread that message.

“Her presence says, ‘come together,'” Ali said.

Before her standing ovation, Fulton quoted Dr. King by saying, “the time is always right to do what’s right.”