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Cincinnati MLK Marchers Flood Downtown With Message

Ann Thompson
Hundreds of people bundled up and marched from the Freedom Center to Fountain Square and then to Music Hall with a message of unity.

Chilly temperatures, icy patches and snowflakes didn't discourage hundreds of people from marching ten blocks through Downtown Cincinnati to proclaim Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of unity Monday.

Katrina Davis, bundled up with knee length boots, stopped briefly for a prayer service on Fountain Square. She says, "It's all about us; unity. I'm just looking for us to come together, (to) be stronger, moving forward."

Nancy Jacob held a sign that read, "Honor King-End Racism," and pointed out, "It's time to do more than just give lip service to Dr. King's work."

"If Not Now, When?" the theme of Monday's Cincinnati MLK civil rights march, prayer service and commemorative celebration, focuses on Dr. King's message of justice and equality while looking at the challenges of today. Spokeswoman Christina Brown says, "It's not just a celebratory event, it's a call to action."

"Every year we say the same things, but we hope that this time we can all come together and get it right," according to former Ohio Representative Dale Mallory, who was in the crowd.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Singing and chanting were key during the march. This is the second leg from Fountain Square to Music Hall.

As John Spencer was starting the walk from Fountain Square to Music Hall, the native New Yorker said, "It's just something that needs to be renewed every year."

Angela Ford was a baby during the civil rights movement but she says her mother made sure she knew about it. "I just feel connected and I think our youth need to feel connected as well. They need to understand exactly where we've come from and where we are today to fully appreciate the world that we live in."

Ford remains optimistic saying, "We've come so far but yet we haven't come so far. Yet we have work to do and I think it will get better."

The MLK Coalition is planning a program in April to examine what changes have been made in Cincinnati in the last fifty years after the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology