By: Julia Deng
MIDLAND - If he were alive today, Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 86 years old.
The civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis at age 39, but his dream lives on in Midland.
Dozens marched through the city Monday evening and gathered for a ceremony to honor Dr. King's legacy.
"We still have a long way to go," said Lois Hillary, a community leader who helped organize the MLK Day of Service event, presented by Negro Business & Professional Women of Midland.
"Our theme is 'looking back and moving forward'. We look back but we don't want to stay there. We just [look back] to see from where we've come. We want to move forward now."
Hillary said they're "hoping for more cooperation among different communities," the same dream King died with.
"He gave up a lot of his life to help people in the minority," said Irma Maulmontri, a Midland resident who attends the ceremony every year. "I'm just excited to represent him and let him know that he has not been forgotten."
The children of Midland - much too young to remember King - also did their part in honoring him.
"I'm the one who started the chanting," said 10-year-old Exavion Cooks.
He attended the evening's festivities with his mother and brother, and led the annual MLK Day march down Butternut Lane.
"I made it up in my head," Cooks told NewsWest 9. "I said, 'Martin Luther King... had a dream to let freedom ring."
He led a crowd of more than 100 through the city, holding posters of King and chanting, "Martin Luther King... had a dream to let freedom ring."
"It was so awesome," said Cooks. "I'm so happy I got to march for [King] because he's my hero."
Monday night's "Looking Back - Moving Forward" program also featured the Midland MLK Community Youth Choir, the Macedonia Praise Dancers troupe and CWC Steppers.