SWFL celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

Author: Mike Walcher
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Monday, many Southwest Florida residents celebrated the life and legacy of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

King is being honored at a time of increased racial tension around the country. The deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police have inflamed what many had considered– an improving racial reality in the United States.

Hundreds of people of all races gathered at Centennial Park Monday. Some believe race relations are improving, but others are discouraged, saying society has not made as much progress as it should have in 50 years.

People marched with pride, but the images of Ferguson, Missouri, and other cities, resonate locally.

“Even with our law enforcements, that’s what happened in Missouri and other places, they have a problem with different colors. They are just open with theirs, but here it’s kind of an undercover thing. You think they don’t, it’s not like that… but it is,” said Pastor Luke Green.

Green says he has no doubt that racism is very much alive. “In Lee County, it’s kind of sneaky.”

Others disagree. Taurus Pugh, an entrepreneur, considers Lee County a place of great opportunity.

“I don’t feel the racial tension here. I did see the movie ‘Selma’ and that brought a good insight on what happened back then,” said Pugh.

“We have a lot of doors that have been open for us, from people who have given up their lives,” said Michelle Pope.

Some believe, King’s message is ongoing, and work for equality never ends.

“I think racial relations here in Fort Myers are really no different than anywhere else in the country. There’s progress that’s been made, but there’s more to be done still,” said Greg Brock.

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