SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On the heels of what would have been his 90th birthday, hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The 34th Annual Human Dignity Awards breakfast was held Friday morning at the Town and Country Hotel. The event is put on by the Jackie Robinson YMCA.
Organizers say the event is a time for everyone to reflect on what Dr. King means to them. “I think it's our role and our responsibility to make sure that this generation of youth understands what Dr. King stood for,” says Michael Brunker, Executive Director of the JRYMCA.
Many dignitaries including Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis also attended the event.
“It's incredibility important for us to come together as San Diegans,” said Faulconer. “When we’re united, that makes us stronger.”
Students from elementary to high school were recognized for their essays written about Dr. King. Lincoln High School Senior and honoree, Aaron Reynolds, read his piece to the audience.
“It’s more of a calling rather than just a name,” says Reynolds. “We have to stand up, not just as black people but as a nation. We have to finish where he left off.”
This year’s human dignity award was presented to the Tariq Khamisa Foundation. Khamisa was a college student who was shot and killed by 14-year-old Tony Hicks, in 1995. Khamisa’s father and Hicks’ grandfather joined together to start the foundation and encourage students to avoid violence and love the members of the community. They have inspired more than 500,000 students to make better choices.