Nacogdoches organizers hope to make MLK Day a 'community thing'

By Morgan Thomas - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches Martin Luther King Jr. Day organizers are on a mission.

"Our theme this year is this us your community; this is your opportunity. so we encourage everyone to come out and march with us," said Patrick Sanders, social services coordinator of Head Start.

"This is a community thing," County Commissioner Reggie Cotton Jr. said. "The city, the county - a joint venture for our community."

It's a historic day for a city that treasures its history.

"There's a lot of history here," Cotton said. "We have one of the oldest NAACP presidents still living. He's 94 years old. He was very instrumental in Nacogdoches moving out of the dark ages and into the light."

Even the location of the march reminds the community how far they've come.

Starting at Eugenia Stearne Park and marching their way through the town and ending up at the courthouse.

Just like the marches of the 60s during the civil rights movement.

"The reason the courthouse is significant is because back in the 60s and 70s thats where they would march on the courthouse square," Sanders said.

In the spirit of the historical marches - organizers want people of all backgrounds participating.

"Many people marched with him: Anglos, hispanics, blacks, Jews," Cotton said. "So many people marched with him and died for the cause."

Remembering those who sacrificed is why some want MLK Day to go beyond one day a year.

"It's a very worthy cause and we should not just celebrate Monday or that day being his birthday," Cotton said. "Every day we should love the life that he desired us to live."

That vision led to this year's volunteer opportunites at area schools following the march.

"Going into the schools, painting projects, beautification projects," Sanders said.

The events kick off at Eugenia Stearne Park at 9:30 a.m with a prayer vigil. At 10, everyone will march to the courthouse where a rally with several speakers will commence.

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