Lee County community marches through Downtown Fort Myers in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Members of the Lee County community came together to march through the streets of Downtown Fort Myers on a sunny and brisk Monday, Jan. 18 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Dunbar Festival Committee organized the march, which began at Dunbar Jupiter Hammon Library at 10 a.m. and ended at Centennial Park shortly after 11 a.m.
Participants in the event spanned across various age groups and ethnicities. The overall theme of the march was not only to remember Martin Luther King Jr. but for the community to come together in support of the message of peace and acceptance within society.
Members of the FGCU Upsilon Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. led marchers in songs and chants — “No more violence, no more crime!” and “Whose lives matter? All lives matter!” — to get the crowd to become more involved and enthusiastic.
“This event compared to last year has grown tremendously,” said James Lyttle, FGCU alumnus and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. member. “There is a oneness being instilled within the community, and I think it’s great.”
Martin Luther King Jr. was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, which made the event even more meaningful to Lyttle and his fellow fraternity members.
“Martin Luther King was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. when he was in college, so we do this every year,” said Rossenel Laguerre, an FGCU graduating senior and Alpha Phi Alpha member. “This was actually our first year where we led the march. I feel like today was a successful day in commemorating Martin Luther King.”
The march was just one of the several events that the Dunbar Festival Committee conducted in its 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Weekend celebration. A multicultural celebration including food, vendors, music and performances also took place in Centennial Park immediately following the march until 5:30 p.m.
The annual Fort Myers Martin Luther King Jr. Day march is expected to continue to grow in the Lee County community in the years that follow.