South Floridians celebrate life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

MIAMI (WSVN) - South Floridians celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday with dancers, scholarships and parades.

In Miami Beach, hundreds gathered at the Miami Beach Convention Center for the annual 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project Scholarship breakfast.

The program has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships since its founding in 1993. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., attended the breakfast.

“[I am] extremely proud of the determination to succeed demonstrated by these deserving young men who never dreamed that college would be a part of their portfolio,” Wilson said. “I feel wonderful to have a new class of young men, the class of 2019, coming through this morning, taking that passage to manhood and sending them to college.”

“It helped me a lot to grow as a young man, as an individual, succeed many expectations and make many decisions,”scholarship recipient Tyree Williams said.

In Broward County, Gov. Ron DeSantis spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day speaking to students of the Piney Grove Boys Academy at the Piney Grove Baptist Church in Lauderdale Lakes. DeSantis said he will push to eliminate the waiting list to help low-income children attend private K-12 schools.

“I was honored to be at Piney Grove Boys Academy today to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” DeSantis said. “Dr. King understood that our rights are not given to us by the government but are ours by the grace of God. He fought to have everyone’s rights recognized. I don’t want to see barriers and limits to students reaching their full potential because that is not what our country is about. We will continue to carry on Dr. King’s legacy and fight to ensure that nobody will be denied an opportunity for reasons out of their control.”

The city of Fort Lauderdale held its annual MLK Day parade on Sistrunk Boulevard Monday morning. The parade headed east from Lincoln Park and then south on Northwest Seventh Avenue.

The parade featured cheerleaders from local schools and Mayor Dean Trantalis and fellow city commissioners.

“I guess the state that the country is in now … you wanna know that there’s unity. And not division,” parade-goer Merlene Barnes said.

“It’s a sign of unity,” attendee Michael Webb said. “It’s a sign of everyone getting together and having a great time. You can’t beat it.”

The city of Miami held its own annual MLK Day parade Monday morning as well.

“It means unity to me,” parade attendee Mashika Jackson said. “There’s nobody out here arguing. It’s just fun and everybody just enjoying their selves.”

“If you look around, it’s not just only blacks. It’s everybody, and that’s a blessing,” parade-goer James Graham said.

The parade featured dancers, bands and sanitation trucks dressed in Breast Cancer Awareness wraps moving through Northwest 54th Street. The parade concluded at 2 p.m.


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