It was a day to be inspired as people gathered to hear Brownwood's "Revitalizing Our Community" organization praise Martin Luther King Jr. for the legacy he left behind.
The Brownwood community gathered at the Bennie Houston Recreation Center Monday morning to march over to the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, where they listened to songs and short speeches. City officials, law enforcement officers, emergency staff and Brownwood ISD's band were among the hundreds of people who attended.
ROC member and council member Draco Miller said the theme of this year's event was “Living the Dream.”
"What I want the community to take away from this is that look at where you live and look at the people that you live around," Miller said. "See that Dr. Martin Luther King's dream is true because we have all ethnicities that are here. It doesn't matter the pigmentation of your skin."
Community members Harriet Wilson and Sandra Bradshaw-Tucker were pleased with Monday's ceremony.
"It was awesome and a long time coming," Bradshaw-Tucker said.
"When I came to Brownwood more than 10 years ago, our kids didn't even have the day off," Wilson said. "So it's a big deal that we've seen so much progress. I'm hoping that everybody will walk away with a sense of togetherness and a sense of pride."
Mayor Stephen Haynes pointed out the progress the city has made. He said that in the past, it was unfathomable to have an African American president but today it's a reality. The same goes for the idea to name something in Brownwood after Dr. King.
"When you look back at history, in the past 50 years, there is no person who has had a more influential legacy than Dr. King," Haynes said. "There is no question that he changed the landscape of America, not just because of the cause for which he fought but in the manner in which he did it – with respect, with dignity for all people."
"Dr. King means a lot to me," Miller said. "For a man to lay down his life, who knew that his life wouldn't be long-lived, to make sure that generations and generations to come could walk hand in hand together without any prejudice ... for a man who saw that vision way before his time, that right there inspires me."
Speakers encouraged the community to not think about material items, to "reach out to your neighbor and find out how you can help" and to "be blind when it comes to color."
"Martin Luther King Day is not geared towards African-American, even though he was an African-American," Miller said. "It wasn't about color with him. This day is for everybody because you have to look within yourself and you have to look around you from where you were to where you are now."
ROC aims to build the community and help the youth. They especially want kids today to understand the importance of this holiday.