MEDFORD, Ore. -- Sunday afternoon, hundreds packed into Central Medford High School’s auditorium to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy and to celebrate and encourage diversity throughout the Rogue Valley. Medford has been putting on a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration for more than 20 years, to remember who he was and what he, and many others, fought for.
"He is a constant reminder of what we should be striving for in the United States in light of our history in the past," said a member of the City of Medford Multicultural Commission Debra Lee.
Hundreds saw performances from different schools across the Southern Oregon and even a speech from Dr. Geneva Craig who fought for civil rights alongside Dr. King.
"We should celebrate this man. I celebrate Dr. King because Dr. King was an influence in my life. Dr. King was a person who inspired me to continue with my education and become the person who I am today," Dr. Geneva Craig said.
She grew up in segregated Selma, Alabama. She said Dr. King inspired her and constantly reinforced that she was somebody and was important.
"He was our idol. He was our hero. He was our leader. When I say ‘our,’ I'm talking the teenagers that were along with me, in Selma, Alabama where I was born and raised. We were a group of teenagers who were angry and who wanted change," Dr. Craig said. “We were in a Black and White society in Selma, Alabama. We were segregated and we were on the inferior side of segregation. We wanted change."
Dr. Craig said she's happy the Rogue Valley is still celebrating Dr. King’s legacy decades after his assassination.
"This is a great man who died at an early age but look at the contributions he made. We can inspire our youth to do the same.”
There are more Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations happening on the holiday, Monday, January 15th, 2018. Ashland will be hosting the 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at the Historic Ashland Armory at Noon.