Jan. 16, 2005 – The day began gloomy, with rain showers and dark clouds hanging in the sky, but the inclement weather did not deter marchers who came to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
About 60 residents, including groups of children in their school uniforms, marched from the United Shopping Plaza to a rally at the Island Center for the Performing Arts. Co-chairs Shelia Middelton and Naomi Joseph of the Civil Rights Committee of the Central Labor Council organized the 12th annual march. The march also included a 40-car motorcade.
Many of the marchers wore commemorative T-shirts portraying the likenesses of Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The shirts carried this year's march motto, Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Present, Looking forward to the Future.
Some of the schools involved in the march and rally were the Juanita Gardine, Pearl. B. Larsen Alfredo Andrews and Evelyn Williams elementary schools, St. Croix Christian Academy and the St. Croix Central High School.
Joseph said it is important that King's message and legacy are passed down to the children.
"We cannot let our children forget what happened in the past. [That's why] we make it a point to involve the schools," he said.
During the rally, Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards spoke about the importance of the involvement of churches in the community. He said King realized that churches play a great role in curing the social ills of a community. He urged the churches to "step up" and assist the community.
Speaking on the theme of the day, Delegate Donna M. Christensen said the community "cannot passively look toward the future." Christensen advised the participants to shape their own future by stamping out drugs, crime and violence.
Other speakers at the rally included Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, chairperson of the Senate's Labor Committee, Professor Claytus Emanuel and Eliza Rampersad.
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