SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech was recognized here in Western Massachusetts. Many are remembering how far we've come, but also looking ahead at how much more needs to be done.
50 years after the March on Washington the call to action continues.
One person told 22News, "Compared to 50 years ago we've made a lot of progress. We are not there yet, we have a lot to do in the community."
In 1963, those who marched for racial equality faced the fear of violence. Civil rights leader Medgar Evers had been assassinated just weeks before. And the Birmingham church bombing killed four young girls just weeks later.
Today, there are new challenges; racial disparities still exist in education and health and there are issues that affect the focus of all races.
"When the economic situation gets rough, it's kind of hard to say ‘love thy neighbor’ when you're trying to eat," said William Arnold Jr. in Springfield.
All week long, a Springfield youth center that bears the Reverend Martin Luther King's name has been holding discussions, organizing volunteer efforts and planning celebrations in honor of the civil rights leader. It's their hope that Reverend King's message will continue to resonate.
"A lot of the things that a great man died for are being lost and I really would like that put back into the system he fought so hard for," said Arnold.
The events at the Martin Luther King Jr. family services center will culminate in a parade this Sunday on State Street.