Danville, VA - More than 300 guests joined Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. for a celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Remarks were shared by Dr. Edward Newsome, the first black Superintendent of Danville Public Schools, and Mayor Sherman Saunders, who met Dr. King in Danville during the civil rights movement.
"I went home and told my mother that night - a 15-year-old kid - when I grow up, I want to be like Dr. Martin Luther King, " Saunders said.
That commitment did not go unnoticed. Saunders was honored as the fraternity's Citizen of the Year.
"When you do things for the right reasons, often times you don't really think about what you're doing, but I am very thankful and humbled by the recognition, " Saunders said.
A later event at Averett University paid homage to the great leader, but also provided a call to action for more civic engagement in our area.
"This is a critical way that we can carry on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, " said Averett President Tiffany Franks.
Franks was joined by a list of distinguished speakers, including Bishop Lawrence Campbell - one of the most influential figures in the Danville civil rights movement. Campbell says seeing today's events come together shows that their work was not in vain.
"To see the kind of rainbow expression of different races participating as we have done today, it's a fulfillment of that dream, " said Campbell.
Many of the speakers said the work is far from done. They stressed the importance of education and support from the community to provide a bright future for the next generation.