The procession commemorating the 26th annual MLK Day streamed out of the Second Baptist Church onto city streets dusted with the first snowfall of the season.
Leading the pack was Bishop Gene Savoy Jr., chairman of the Northern Nevada Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee.
“It’s important to remember and to celebrate the life and the legacy and the work of Dr. King,” Savoy said.
In keeping with King’s message of equality, the caravan was comprised of men and women, young and old, black and white.
Among the participants was Alex Levitan, 12, whose perspective seemed to belie his age.
“It’s a holiday that makes sense,” he said. “Everyone has the same rights. I don’t see any difference.”
Leon Williams Smith, 61, a local gospel musician, was inspired by the many faces he saw in attendance.
“I’m glad to see all races are together,” he said.
Smith grew up in Montgomery, Ala. in the days of racial segregation. His mother rode the bus with Rosa Parks and he personally knew King as a child.
“I used to pull on Rev. King’s robes,” Smith said with a huge grin.
Though King is best remembered for his call to civil rights, the dream he spoke so eloquently of in Washington in 1963 entailed much more than social justice.
Creating economic opportunity for all races and classes was equally important to King, and that message, perhaps, resonates now more than ever as the effects of the Great Recession linger.
“It’s a good time for us to be having this conversation, which is as valid now as it was 50 years ago,” Savoy said. “And it’s important for young people to keep this work up. There is still much to be done.”
King had another message, too, one that transcended politics and society and promised a better tomorrow for anyone who would listen.
“His message was to love others,” Smith said.