ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Georgia’s 36th Annual Celebration of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paid tribute to his life and his lasting impact on the fight for civil rights.

“Dr. King was a beloved Georgian and American hero of justice and equality,” said Governor Brian Kemp.

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“I want to urge our society to take steps toward following the footsteps left behind by Dr. King,” said Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan.

The ceremony also honored a founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Advisory Council, Dr. Rita Jackson Samuels, Congressman John Lewis and others who walked hand-in-hand with Dr. King. “He so eloquently implored for freedom to ring, all across this country,” said Speaker of the House David Ralston.

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Broadcast veteran and former longtime Atlanta anchor Monica Kaufman Pearson was the keynote speaker. “We need to see each other truly as God’s creations,” she said.

Community leaders spoke about how the very freedoms Dr. King fought for are threatened today through political upheaval. “The insurrection of the United States Capitol was history shattering and a shock to our democracy, our republic, an alarming wakeup call,” Pearson said.

Through the turmoil, Dr. King’s message of hope still shines through the darkness, and we remember his legacy in the long road ahead.