Sarah Collins-Roberts said it's important for her three sons to know the importance of inclusion, unity, and building community relationships.
"I think it'll make an impression on them to see this many people come together in common remembrance and common purpose," she said. I don't think we see that a lot in our society today. A lot of times we're separated from one another. But coming together as a group and trying to make a point about what we believe as a community ... It's important that my sons see that. That it can happen. That they can be a part of it."
Roberts and her sons were near the middle of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom March on Monday morning. The march through downtown Lexington was in remembrance of the slain activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner on a day focused on service.
P.G. Peeples, president and CEO of The Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County and march organizer, said the march is one part of a day of tribute and recognition for King.
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However, Peeples and other marchers said Monday's march was needed and especially important as the nation continues to deal with the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York.
Brown 18, was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson Aug, 9. Garner died July 17 after New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo applied a choke hold July 17. Neither of the officers was indicted.
Peeples noted the "suppression of voting rights" as an issue.
"All of those things are what Dr. King stood up for, and we're having to do that again," Peeples said as he was preparing to march. "But what's encouraging to me is to see the young people that are mobilizing and galvanizing around this county and marching kind of in the footsteps ..."
Peeples, stood shoulder to shoulder with public safety, community and state officials, including Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes and Georgia Davis Powers, who became the first black and the first woman elected to the Kentucky Senate in 1967. Deputies from the Fayette County Sheriff's office and Lexington police participated in the march and blocked intersections with patrol vehicles.
Peeples said 39 groups signed up to participate in the march, but it quickly grew to about a thousand people who were clearly diverse in age, race and the representation of their organization.
Throughout the march people sang "We Shall Overcome" and "This Little Light Of Mine" on bullhorns. Parents carried small children and pushed strollers. Others held up signs with "HOPE" printed on them as they walked.
Djuan White, who was holding a T-Shirt on a stick with "I Can't Breathe" printed on it -- a chant that has become common at protests in the wake of Garner's death -- said the march was a good way to "unify America."
"We all have children and we're all here to do our calling, but I just think lives are cut due to somebody isn't caring or is unable to hold back violence." he said. "So, that's what we're here for. We're here for anti-violence."