35th Annual Peace Walk Held In Southfield To Celebrate MLK Day


SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WWJ) -- Southfield was the first city in Michigan to hold a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. peace walk or march and that was way back on Jan. 20, 1986.

That tradition continued on Monday with the 35th annual Peace Walk from the Hope United Methodist Church to the Southfield City Hall. Roughly 1,000 people, including students, union members and other activists, showed up for the walk.

Alexio Slappey from the University High School Academy of Lathrup Village tells WWJ's Charlie Langton she was happy to participate.

"This is such a big celebration because it brings everyone together of all diversities and it's very important for us to come together because Martin Luther King did this for a reason," she said.

With "a community in action" as the theme of the day, there were speeches, music and chanting as metro Detroiters honored the legacy of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

"Well, you know this really means a lot because Martin Luther King, being African-American, he really fought for us and our civil rights, so I'm just proud to honor him today," one student said.

Other celebrations are being held all across metro Detroit on Monday, including the 8th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Bike Ride. About 200 bicyclists will embark on a 10-mile ride that starts at Wayne State University's McGregor Memorial Conference Center. Riders will visit several historical sites relevant to Dr. King and other local activists that were integral to the Freedom March throughout Detroit.

A Legacy March at King High School on Detroit's east side, while Oakland University hosts its annual Keeper of the Dream event. This year's keynote speaker is former WNBA star Lisa Leslie. A one-mile MLK Freedom walk around Comerica Park will start in front of the Tiger Statue at 1:30 p.m.

The Motown Museum in Detroit is offering free admission to the museum all day today up until closing time at 6 p.m. 

Throughout the day the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will host many free programs, including a screening of the movie Selma, storytelling, face-painting, and various presentations.