To show their ongoing commitment for racial justice, the Eugene-Springfield NAACP celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a drive-thru rally on Monday. The event saw more than 200 vehicles pass through.
Ibrahim Coulibaly, president of the local NAACP chapter said the event was held in honor of Dr. King’s spirit of gathering during difficult times. This includes the rise of white supremacy and the Jan. 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, he said.
“We wanted to make a statement regardless of what is going on, we are going to keep the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.” he said. “We're going to keep marching, we’re going to keep protesting peacefully, we’re going to also reach out to the community at large to come together to find solutions.”
Coulibaly said 2021 for the NAACP is going to be a year of perspective and encouraging the community to create a better future.
“We need to have a moment of reflection on where we want to be, what world we want to leave our kids..we’re seeing hate being displayed in plain sight, we’re seeing climate change,” he said.
Recognizing racism throughout history and in the present, this year’s theme for MLK Day asked “Where do we go from here?”
For Oregon State Sen. James Manning, he said we need more legislation designed to help people, not hurt people.
“We got to make sure that we recognize that we have a sickness in America and then we got to start dealing with that sickness,” he said, “We got to start undoing legislation that’s been designed to oppress and repress certain members of our population.”
Manning said this includes oversight of policing, government, and how we treat each other. He adds MLK day is not a day off it’s a day on, and to be kind to a stranger.
“I’m amazed to see all these various organizations, and the lines of people that are coming though this drive-thru walk...they’re doing the work to bring unity to the community, and Dr. King was all about unity,” he said.
The NAACP also hosted a virtual event on their Facebook page featuring music and guest Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.
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