ST. LOUIS — Martin Luther King Jr. Day was Monday, and people around the country used the day off to uplift the community.
While St. Louis joined the nation in participating in a day of service, local organizers say that work must not stop now. St. Louis leaders say this should be just the beginning of even more service.
The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity kicked off a weekend of celebration Saturday on Dr. King’s birthday, January 15. It was a chilly, winter's day in St. Louis.
"I was out in the event Saturday out in the snow and cold,” community advocate Marcus Creighton said.
They gathered outside of Dr. King’s statue on Fountain Avenue for a peaceful march unaffected by the cold temperatures.
"If they didn't complain back in the '60s about their conditions, there's no way we can complain about our conditions in 2022," Creighton said. "They were sweating. They were uncomfortable but at the same time. They were bitten by dogs. They had things thrown at them. They were shot with water hoses that literally could blow people off their feet."
On January 17, the city joined the nation in observing MLK Day in a series of events aimed at giving back. But what happens after the holiday?
"Are we out here working hard on a daily basis to push his dream forward? Are we treating each other well? Are we mentoring kids in our community?" Creighton asked.
He believes now is a good time to re-evaluate personal philosophies and what we're doing to celebrate the dream each and every day.
"Whether it's supporting a Black business, whether it's mentoring a child, whether it's teaching a child to read, whether it's buying a hungry person a meal or taking someone to register to vote," Creighton said. "Those who would love to see injustice continue throughout the community, they don't sleep. They don't do that on one day of the year. They work year-round to make sure their agenda moves forward."
Now Creighton is commissioning the community to be bigger than those who seek to divide.
"We need to be working just as hard if not harder on our side to move Dr. King's dream forward. It is not a one-day-a-year thing to where we recognize, celebrate, march, sing a few songs and keep it moving. It is something we have to live 365 days a year."
Dr. King's son, Martin Luther King III, helped honor his dad Monday in Washington, DC. Even his work continues. One of his biggest initiatives is a focus on voting rights across the nation. An issue that remains stalled in Congress prompting King's family to keep fighting.