ATLANTA — Family and Georgia officials gathered Monday morning to honor Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His legacy is rooted in Atlanta where he was born. King would have turned 93 on Jan. 15.
The event is held every year at his old Atlanta congregation, Ebenezer Baptist Church, on MLK Day. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is the current pastor of Ebenezer, were in attendance.
Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks virtually. President Joe Biden and Harris visited Atlanta last week to talk about voting rights. During their time in the Peach State's capital city, they also stopped at Ebenezer and at the crypt of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Harris once again echoed her recent message on voting rights.
"A landmark bill, as we all know, sits before the United States Senate: 'The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.' This bill represents the first real opportunity to secure the freedom to vote since the United States Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act nearly a decade ago. And the Senate must pass this bill now.," she said.
She added that Americans shouldn't be complacent or complicit.
"To truly honor the legacy of the man we celebrate today, we must continue to fight for the freedom to vote, for freedom for all," she said.
Gov. Brian Kemp also shared a virtual message alongside his wife and Georgia's First Lady, Marty. They said King is one of the greatest leaders in American history.
"His methods ultimately led to success and showed all of us that taking the high road is the best path to achieving lasting change," the governor said.
With MLK Day often referred to as "a day on and not a day off," several organizations are hosting community service events to commemorate the day, including The King Center. The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday March and Rally was also planned for Monday afternoon in downtown Atlanta.
Just before midnight, King's daughter and CEO of The King Center, Dr. Bernice King, tweeted a thread of photos and messages asking everyone to channel their "love-centered energy into defeating injustice."
A video also showed precious family moments with the Kings.
During the service, Dr. Bernice King talked about her father's legacy and non-violence tactics.
"If ever there was a time that the world needs this love-centered way, now is the time," she said.