Toccoa Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year's essay winner, Micheal Earle-Lyles (r) at Monday's observance.

This year’s essay winner, Micheal Earle-Lyles (r) at Monday’s observance.

Toccoa marks Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Monday, Trinity C.M.E. Church again hosted the annual interfaith service.

That was followed by the annual march from the Church to ToccoaCity Hall.

Once at Toccoa City Hall, the winner of this year’s essay contest on Dr. King read their winning essay.

This year’s winner was Michael Earle-Lyles, a sixth grader at StephensCountyMiddle School.

His winning essay talked about how young people could keep the legacy of Dr. King alive peacefully.

Earle-Lyles said there are several things young people can do to carry that legacy on.

“We, as young people, need to step up and stay out of prison,” said Earle-Lyles.  “Dr. King did not die so that we could segregating ourselves from one another.  We are needed in society to help provide stable families and empower the next generation to excel beyond their dreams.”

He also said that in order to carry on Dr. King’s legacy, today’s youth must obtain an education.

“We must get an education to know our rights so that no one can take our freedoms,” said Earle-Lyles.  “Education helps us to obtain access and understanding to the world around us.  Dr. King would want me to be smarter than a fifth grader. ”

Finally, he said young people must make their voices heard as part of the political process.

“We must register and vote in local and state elections, not just in presidential elections,” said Earle-Lyles.  “We, as young people, must express ourselves non-violently in situations of injustice.  Dr. King set the bar, peacefully protesting and marching.  Surely we can change our thinking so we can change the world.”

Monday’s activities concluded a series of activities in Toccoa to honor Dr. King over the past couple of weeks. Those activities included a talent and fashion show, a youth musical extravaganza, reflections from senior citizens, an art competition, and an essay competition.