Rochester community celebrates Dr. King’s legacy

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were commemorated with several heartwarming events on this bitterly cold Monday. And for many, it’s a chance to reflect on our own city. How we can use Dr. King’s legacy and influence in our own lives.

The morning started with a celebration of music, song and speeches at the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

The greater Rochester MLK Commission’s Community of Celebration, brought out dozens of local leaders, including Mayor Malik Evans. All reflecting on Dr. King’s legacy, fight for peace and civil rights.

Dr. Shirley Green, president of Rochester Alumni Chapter for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, says the fight isn’t over.

“If anyone heard what the mayor said today, he talked about the fact that Rochester has three of the poorest zip codes in New York State. What does that mean about the City of Rochester? That we have work to do.”

She says it’s important to remember the dream, justice.

“It’s not important for just a few of us to reach it, we all must come together so we can reach that dream collectively.”

It was a great day to reflect, and plan for the future.

“We are striving for a better Rochester. Literally we want to take action for a better community, so it requires the best of all of us,” said Jerome Underwood, president, chief executive officer, Action for a Better Community.

One way to plan for a successful future, is to reach younger ones, teaching them everything Dr. King stood for.

That’s exactly what was happening at Garth Fagan School of Dance, on Chestnut Street.

Executive Director Natalie Rogers-Cropper says ever since the school’s beginning, they’ve hosted “Free Dance Day” on Dr, MLK Jr. Day.

Between moving around, and learning technique, she says teachers integrate the significance of this day into lessons for the kids.

“Continue that legacy, which is really just to be accepting, to be open and to love what they do, and respect others.”

As for the school’s tradition of free dance, they’ve been doing it every MLK Day since the school’s beginning, about 25 years ago.