The Triangle honors life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016
MLK celebration
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Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Decades after his "I have a dream speech," North Carolinians took part in a number of celebrations and commemorations to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

Many events around the Triangle honored the late civil rights leader.

The day of service kicked off around 7 a.m. with the 36th annual interfaith prayer breakfast at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham.

"It brings a diverse group of people together all over the Triangle in order to look once again at the dedication that Dr. King modeled in terms of social change," said Dumas A. Harshaw Jr., Chair of the Board of the Triangle Martin Luther King Jr. Committee. "It helps us to revisit his message of hope and recommit ourselves to ways that we can be involved to make America a better place."

With prayer and song, about 2,000 attendees commemorated the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.

Keynote speaker Reverend Mark-Anthony Middleton, of Abundant Hope Christian Church in Durham, also talked about continuing Dr. King's legacy.

"Not just clapping for Dr. King but putting our hands to work the same work that he was engaged in," Reverend Middleton said.

Another breakfast was held in Cumberland County, where Ann Mathis presented the Moses Mathis Community Service Award to the Cumberland County Volunteer Fire Departments.

Around the same time in Chapel Hill, a MLK Day 5K race to benefit the Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha memorial fund at UNC was held.

In downtown Raleigh, the 36th annual MLK "Fierce Urgency of Now" Memorial March got underway around 11 a.m. at the state capitol. The march proceeded down Fayetteville Street to the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Followed by an Ecumenical Observance at the Duke Energy Center.

Also in downtown Raleigh, families visiting Marbles Kids Museum had the opportunity to give back. The Interfaith Food Shuttle set up tables of healthy food donations that visitors used to stock bags for the Backpack Buddies program.

The program sends meals home with food-insecure children across the Triangle during the school year who would otherwise go hungry on weekends.

Volunteers with The United Way pitched in to help CASA, a Raleigh-based non-profit, stock Welcome Home baskets for new tenants. CASA provides affordable, permanent housing to those moving out of homelessness.

One volunteer, Michael Andrews, a 13-year-old Thales Academy student made a point to spend his day volunteering at CASA, as a way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"He was an important person in the Civil Rights movement and it just makes me happy that he did what he did, so I want to give back to the community," he said.

The Welcome Home baskets are full of household items tenants will need to set up their new apartments.

Monday evening, ABC11's John Clark will emcee the final event at the Duke Energy Center -- the 36th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Evening Musical.

ABC11 is a proud sponsor of the concert. The event is free and open to the public.

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