Local leaders celebrate important civil rights milestone

Published On: Apr 08 2013 11:09:43 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 09 2013 01:32:40 AM EDT

How the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is being observed here in Jacksonville..


Florida New Majority, A Great Day in LaVilla and the ACLU came together to commemorate Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's letter he wrote from the Birmingham, AL jail.

Monday marked the 50th anniversary of King's letter from jail.

The event was called "A Community Block Party for Equality." Artists and singers joined the celebration, but without taking away from the true meaning of the event, which event planners said was immigration reform and voting rights.

"We are getting all of our communities together because we feel our democracy and our economy works best when all communities are able to participate in it, and that even means the aspiring citizens, as well as the returning citizens who don't have their right to vote after being release from jail," said Florida New Majority's Angie Nixon. "And those 11 million aspiring citizens who we feel should have a clear path to citizenship so that's the reason we are here today."

The group read excerpts from Dr. King's letter, which they say laid the moral for the modern civil rights movement. Advocates also read stories about immigrants facing deportation and ex-offenders looking to have their rights restored.

Dr. King's letter talked about these issues that were important in his day and issues that continues to be important today, issues regarding equality.

"The main reason behind this is we feel like we came so far as too realize Martin Luther king's dream of equality and justice for all, however, we haven't come far enough. So we feel as though every community should be able to participate as a democracy that's what makes it work," said Nixon.

Monday night's event has special meaning for many who showed up.

"I am always interested in the history of our culture, so I like to come out and listen to the speakers and see what's going on," Vanetta Sinclair. "I'm always a part of the movement. I like to be a part of the movement, anything about commencement, Martin Luther King or anything of that nature. My husband grew up in the movement as well so, I love the culture of it all."


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