A march from City Hall to Riverside Church launched this year’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Three Rivers.
Marchers gathered initially at the church and were transported to City Hall by the St. Joseph County Transportation Authority for the march that began around 9 a.m. Monday (January 21st).
Marchers – braving wintry weather with the temperature around 15 degrees – were escorted eastward on Michigan Avenue by units from the Three Rivers Police and Fire departments.
Among the participants was At-Large Commissioner David York who – during a River Country Journal interview at Riverside Church prior to the march – said that “Martin Luther King was a great asset to the whole country.” (David York audio clip – :21)
Regarding King’s contribution to social progress in the United States, York said, ““He made a big difference. He brought blacks and whites together, as well as understanding that he was a peaceful fighter in this segregation war. That was the best part about it. Everybody looked for blacks especially to just raise up and fight, and I was just impressed and encouraged by the fact that he said that we would just move and let them hear our words, instead of trying to beat the words into them. I’m very happy that a man like that came across. He didn’t only influence the black, but he also influenced the white.”
Ben Karle, a social worker with St. Joseph County Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, also took part in the march. During a City Hall interview with the River Country Journal, just before marchers set off on their journey to Riverside Church, Karle said, “I think for me Martin Luther King is a role model for peace and something, I believe him, and it’s a good community event. It’s something I’ve done for a few years and like to participate in.” Karle also said King’s importance has been “huge.” (Ben Karle audio clip – :16)
Monday’s lineup of activities in Three Rivers also included a Youth Service and breakfast at Riverside Church and an evening service at 6 p.m. at New Jerusalem Baptist Church, 817 8th Street, with Pastor Pamela Williams of Grant Chapel AME Church as the feature speaker.
For additional insights regarding the local observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, click on the links below to hear the interviews with David York and Ben Karle, conducted by Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal, plus comments by Minister Diane Clay, who is Third District Commissioner in Three Rivers, and a prayer by Pastor Princel Channey, recorded in the lobby at City Hall just before the march began.