The annual march through Cheyenne in honor of slain civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an action in support of his dream of unity, participants in the march Monday said.
About 300 people took part in the 38th annual march and many agreed that while progress has been made in the cause of equality among the races, more remains to be done.
“We’re still fighting,” said Rita Watson, a march organizer. “We’ve moved, but we haven’t moved far enough. We have a lot of work to do and we can’t stop until it’s done.”
The event does show that some advances have been made, said participant Lakesha McBow-Kenner.
“Looking at today’s event and seeing everyone come together in such a large crowd, I do believe we are more together than we are divided, in spite of what other people may want us to believe,” she told Cowboy State Daily.
Guest speaker for the event, the Rev. Warnell Brooks, told participants that the principles espoused by King went beyond issues of race.
“It’s not just about color, it’s about injustice and trying to make a better life for everyone who lives in this world,” said Brooks, who grew up in Cheyenne and later moved to California. “As (King) said in one of his speeches, we all might have arrived here in different ships, but guess what, we’re all in the same boat.”
Wyoming’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day came about through the efforts of the late state Sen. Liz Byrd, D-Cheyenne, who worked for nine years to convince the Legislature to adopt the holiday.
Her son, state Rep. Jim Byrd, R-Cheyenne, credited the holiday’s existence to his mother’s perseverance.
“You would have had to live with that lady to understand tenacity,” he said. “When she sees something that’s wrong that she believes that she can fix or she can at least affect a change on that, she was going to be all over that and she was going to be relentless.”