Thousands honor Dr. King during MLK Holiday Parade

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Millions around the country had the day off to remember the work of one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all time.

The Lowcountry remembered the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with service projects and a parade.

More than 20,000 were expected to attend and 2,000 took part in the MLK Holiday Parade making their way through downtown neighborhoods.

Jack and Jill of America Inc., an organization made up of children of all ages had a float in the parade.

"You don't have to be an adult to really understand that our civil rights are important. Even if you can't vote or you cannot experience civil rights activism, it's always a great time to start young," said chapter president Cara Pugh.

The parade was put on by a women's organization called YWCA.

College of Charleston students Janice Garrett and Darshonda Guess volunteered their time with the organization.

Guess said, "This day is to not just to be off from school and work, but to be engaged with the community and remember what he stood for."

The two sophomores say paying attention to the past could prepare you for the future.

"We have young children that's looking up to us and once the young generation see that we're doing it, they'll be motivated to do the same thing that we're doing, paving the way for a greater future," said Guess.

Cartina Vanderhorst said, "I've been coming to this parade for about 5 years."

Some people like Vanderhorst believes Dr. King's hard work for peace could still help reduce crime.

"Especially black on black crime, I think it's time for our young people to start embracing one another and stop being angry with each other," said Vanderhorst, "What I would like to see is for our young children to learn more about Dr. King and what he stood for."

Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen says the community could learn a thing or two from Dr. King's legacy.

"We need to come together, not just for this one day but to realize that dream that we're all coming together and creating a difference in our community," said Mullen.

The MLK holiday was signed into law in 1983 by former President Ronald Reagan. The holiday was first observed nationwide in 1986.

South Carolina was the last state to honor Dr. King with a paid state holiday. It was signed into law.

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