WALKER —Lakentra Thomas, 12, commemorated the life of a man she called a hero Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Club Outreach.
Her sister, Stephanesha Thomas, 14, said she felt it was important to be at the celebration because King was “a man who worked really hard to bring us where we are today.
“It means a lot that he brought freedom to us, and I came to support that,” Stephanesha said.
More than 100 people marched through Walker before gathering at Club Outreach for the program, “Living King’s Legacy: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century.”
A standing-room only crowd listened to speeches and watched dances and skits in tribute of the civil rights leader.
“Help somebody,” organizer Velva Trask told the crowd.
“We need to help people because Dr. Martin Luther King was about helping others,” she said.
“This day is not just a day off of work but for us to give back to our community; give back to our United States,” Trask said. “Our time to continue his accomplishments and dream is now.”
King “was a man moved by the spirit to move a nation toward a better way of life,” she said.
Donnisoe Welsch, 7, said he is still learning about King, whom he also described as a hero.
“He helped people,” Donnisoe said.
Judge John Michael Guidry drew a strong reaction from the crowd, reminding youth of King’s educational background.
Guidry encouraged them to finish school and attend college. He also encouraged them to respect their parents, give an honest day’s work, and love one another.
“Dr. Martin Luther King wrote a book about the strength of love,” Guidry said. “That’s what God is calling us to do, to love one another.
“We must put away color, class and position, and realize we are all equal in the eyesight of God,” Guidry said.
“Dr. Martin Luther King wants us to put aside racism, sexism and anti-Semitism,” he continued.
“Dr. King gave us his best and now, it’s up to us to move forward,” he said.
As Guidry talked about one of King’s favorite songs, “If I Could Just Help Somebody,” he called both young and old to help others.
“It you want to be a testament to Dr. Martin Luther King, help somebody,” he said.
Alfred Carter attended the annual event in Walker for the first time Monday and said he was pleased with the program.
“I learned a lot so far,” especially about King’s history, Carter said.
His family was there to perform a dance, which he said was important to them.
As far as celebrating the holiday, Carter said it’s important to both him and his family.
“It means the world to me,” Carter said.
“I’m willing to pass on to the younger generation what I’ve learned today so that I can help educate and inspire them,” he said.