Participants, highlighting the diversity and unity of Zachary, held hands and raised awareness of city-based and national harmony during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight March held Monday in Zachary.

A crowd started to gather just after sundown representing Zachary residents, city officials and community and church leaders. Organizers said they were pleased with the effort and turnout as the region started to brace for harsh, cold conditions.

Officers from the Zachary Police Department escorted the marchers that included Police Chief David McDavid, School Superintendent Scott Devillier and Zachary Mayor David Amrhein. Several other city, city-parish and state officials were recognized after the march.

The march, which started at City Hall, trekked down Main Street just past the La. 19 intersection as marchers sang and waved to those shopping, eating or traveling in the early evening traffic. After a turn down Old Weis Road, the march ended at New Pilgrim Baptist Church, the site of a service honoring the impact of the slain civil right leader.

Deidra Mackie recognized recipients of the MLK March Scholarship. She emphasized such efforts water the seeds of King’s legacy by encouraging scholarship and high character in young people. Mackie introduced the winners, who are now attending college, and their parents.

Jordan Gooden, an arts education major at Nicholls State University sporting a 4.0 grade-point average, shared thoughts on how she is a sprouting seed of King’s investment and sacrifice.

Gooden said, while obstacles may exist, King’s legacy helps young people understand that they can accomplish anything in which they put their minds. “Dr. King has always inspired me to follow my dreams and make them a reality, she said. “By working hard and never giving up on anything I put my mind to, I am following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and it makes me look up to him even more.”