Springfield residents and city leaders gather at City Hall to pay tribute to MLK Jr.

Hampden County

Western Massachusetts is remembering the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was murdered 50-years-ago Wednesday.

Dozens of Springfield city leaders and residents gathered in City Hall, to pay tribute to Dr. King, and what he achieved.

“He was certainly a fighter for justice, but he was also someone who never wanted to give up. Someone who said, ‘we take one step, maybe two steps back, one step forward, but we’re always moving forward,'” said Rabbi Mark Shapiro from the Sinai Temple in Springfield.

Bishop Talbert Swan, the president of the Greater Springfield NAACP chapter, told 22News there has been a lot of progress made since King’s death 50-years-ago, but there’s still a lot more work to be done. 

“When he started on his track for social activism he was only 26-years-old, so he was himself a young person throughout his entire career, and I think that he would be pushing today’s young people to continue on that vain,” said Swan. 

One of those young people, is fifth grader Nasiya Yates. She told 22News, “I plan on carrying Dr. King’s legacy by also getting my education and how Im doing now, doing different speeches to help motivate people.”

A Nobel peace prize winner, Dr King is regarded as a hero and remembered as a champion of change.

He played a pivotal role in ending legal segregation, which led to the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and voting rights for African Americans. 

Bishop Talbert Swan told 22News systemic racism still exists, and that Dr. King would want us all to continue to fight for equal rights for everyone.

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