GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Around Eastern North Carolina, the state and the country, people came together to march, gather and take part in other community events to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

It was an opportunity to highlight all the work he did for civil rights and advocation for peace and justice in the United States … all without violence. Events took place all over the area to highlight his service and tireless dedication to the cause.

We have team coverage from Adrianna Hargrove, Erin Jenkins and Cheyenne Pagan about the day’s events and what it means to those people who took part.

Greenville’s march of unity

People of all backgrounds and ages came together Monday morning to peacefully march in unity. It was something King wanted and strived to achieve.

Members of the Greenville community say King did so much to push for equality and made it happen. However, there’s still more room for improvement. Several groups, including the Coalition Against Racism, marched from the C.M. Eppes Center to the Pitt County Courthouse holding signs and chanting messages of equality and justice.

“if we return to those values of love, of compassion, of love for our fellow man, for humanity, justice and mercy and grace, all of those things will exemplify what Christ and what Martin Luther King stood for,” said Richard Taylor, part of the Free James Richardson Innocence Campaign.

— Adrianna Hargrove

Community breakfast

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Earlier on Monday, residents took part in the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s 26th annual Community Unity Breakfast. They left with a call to action while also reflecting on the work King did.

Community garden, volunteers give back to Greenville

Organizers and speakers at the breakfast said it’s up to us to be that difference.

“We have a responsibility to honor him not necessarily with parades and parties and staying at home, but to serve,” said Dr. James H. Alexander, senior pastor at Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church. “Being intentional about serving God, serving the community about serving our fellow person so one day we too can arrive at this unified destination where we are happy, healthy and whole.”

— Erin Jenkins

Jacksonville MLK march

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Jacksonville’s annual march to remember King took place along New Bridge Street. Through chants, songs and prayer, people were doing their part to keep King’s dream alive.

Kinston youth lead MLK Day celebrations

The Keeping the Dream Alive Committee and the Jacksonville Youth Council hosted the 16th annual march. Step by step, marching toward the Jacksonville courthouse, their message was to inspire the younger generation that change is possible.

“If you out there, please keep this dream alive. Keep on keeping on. Don’t stop,” said Mary Louise Pearson Moore, part of the committee that organized Monday’s march. “Like I told everybody if I have to march by myself, I’ll come to see the hall, walk to the courthouse and I come back if I have to do it by myself.”

— Cheyenne Pagan

Giving back in Greenville

GREENVILLE, N.C. — While many people had a day off from work, many others took it as a time to make a difference in their neighborhoods.

Volunteers showed up at River Park North in Greenville Monday morning. They helped beautify the area by raking leaves, picking up trash and other things to make it a better place to be.

“A day to recognize Doctor King, you know he was all about making sure you care for the community,” said Dennis McCunney, a Greenville resident. “I’m here with my six-year-old, so I think it’s important to develop those habits in her at a young age and show her some good examples of being involved in the community.”

— Erin Jenkins

New Bern non-profit holds special clothing drive

NEW BERN, N.C. — A New Bern non-profit is giving back.

Tried by Fire held a special clothing drive on Monday to help fill Marla’s Closet. The initiative provides women with different clothing items for free.

Using a grant from Target, everything from shirts to pants were collected to help women from different organizations.

“We will invite women from agencies that serve women like True Justice International, Coastal Women’s Shelter, Promise Place, Craven Pamlico Reentry Council, and even women from the community to come and just pick whatever they might want to have,” said Deedra Durocher, a volunteer and resource coordinator for Tried by Fire Inc. and My Sisters House.

Tried by Fire is also completing construction on the first transitional home specifically for post-incarcerated women in Eastern North Carolina. They hope to have that up and running soon.