Community Members Gather at Washington Center Ahead of MLK Jr. Rally

DULUTH, Minn. — Many community members started the morning at the Washington Community Recreation Center ahead of the rally. They had the opportunity to visit with the local NAACP, community leaders, and each other. Materials were provided for children to color as well as make signs for the march.

Some of the participants have been coming for years, while for others like Tawney Carlson and her daughter Emariah, it was their first time attending and an opportunity to meet people and become active in the community.

“I think we’re excited to just be involved. I personally am excited that this community does things like this at all.  This is our first march we’ve ever done for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and just to have it free and open to the public makes it accessible for people like us to show up and do something important and hopefully make some new friends,” said Duluth Resident Tawney Carlson.

For Emariah, it was an opportunity for her to see and participate in some of the things she has been learning about at school.

“When we were learning about this guy who also did, like, civil rights movement. And we also listened to the Martin Luther King speech,” said Tawney’s daughter Emariah.

Several community leaders were also in attendance including Mayor Emily Larson, Police Chief Mike Ceynowa, and St. Louis County Sheriff Gordan Ramsay. Additionally, there were members of several local organizations such as AICHO and the Family Freedom Center. One local pastor who was asked to be the keynote speaker for the rally, talked about the message he would like to see moving forward.

“This is an opportunity for us to remember the time in which we are thinking about who we wanted to be, and how we wanted to be the best that we can be.  Not a conversation about tearing down, but building up, and adding to the number of people who can claim prosperity in this country and in this state. I think that’s a great conversation to be on, and I think folks are welcoming that conversation than the ones we’ve been having so far,” said St. Mark AME Church pastor Anthony Galloway.

With preparations complete, the group of about 200 people made their way out into the rain to march down Lake Avenue towards the DECC where the rally would continue.

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