Community members celebrate MLK day

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COLUMBIA - Almost 50 years after the death of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Columbia groups still celebrate his contribution to the civil rights movement and to the community.

Stephens College began its MLK program with a service project where students painted a diversity mural. 

Stephens College Vice President for Student Development Vicky Owles said the event celebrates solidarity in the community.

"Today is an opportunity for Stephens College and the community to come together to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. and the work that he did," Owles said.

Students, staff, and faculty of Stephens College gathered on campus for their annual peace march. The march began on Waugh Street, and the group headed toward Windsor Hall on East Broadway. 

About 100 people gathered following the march for a program dedicated to Assistant Professor Monica Hand who passed away last December. 

The program aimed to commemorate MLK through art with a choreographed dance titled "Freedom", a soliloquy performance and more. 

Columbia Parks and Recreation also held its 45th annual Candlelight Walk and Memorial Celebration.  

The event was held at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church where city leaders, church groups and community members came together.

Director of the Martin Luther King Memorial Association Bill Thompson said the memorial program highlighted MLK's non-violent ideals.

"His life showed you can accomplish things without a lot of violence, and this is what we try and talk about in this program," Thompson said. 

Thompson said the legacy of MLK is making a change in your community.