Oklahomans celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - Hundreds of people gathered throughout the metro Monday to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Cheering, singing, and bell ringing could be heard throughout the day, all to honor the life of the civil rights activist.

Crowds gathered Monday morning for the opening ceremony, where they got to hear from community leaders including civil rights activist Clara Luper's daughter, Marilyn.

"I came to tell you my feet are tired, but my soul is rested. We're gonna have to keep on walking… we're gonna have to keep on talking!" she said to the crowd.

The group walked over a mile from the Freedom Center at 26th and MLK to the Oklahoma History Center.

"If we don't stand up speak up and demand something different sometimes everything has a tendency to continue as it is. Martin Luther King stood up and spoke up and we have to continue that vein," said OKC NAACP President Garland Pruitt.

Participants then gathered outside of the history center for the annual bell ringing.

Governor Stitt joined in and asked young students to help.

"We're all standing on the shoulders of the leaders that came before us, and so just remembering what happened before allows us not to repeat history," said Gov. Stitt.

One of the biggest events of the day was the parade concluding the festivities.

The OKC Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday coalition says they've been hosting this for over 40 years now.

The size of the crowd proved that a lot of Oklahomans have personal ties to this day, like Stephen Billingslea who was a student of Clara Luper.

"I grew under her as a child so as we celebrate freedom, Ms. Luper went to his funeral and told us about it," he said.

Leaders hope this day not only honors the life of a great leader who came before them but also teaches our younger generations about the importance of standing together.

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