Hawaii Honors A Civil Rights Leader

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The people of Hawaii remember the legacy of a civil rights leader. The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade attracted thousands of spectators.

Men, women and children walk along a stretch of Waikiki to honor Dr. King.

"He's given me the opportunity to achieve goals, a lifestyle that wasn't presented to my father or his grandparents," said Jerome Morris, a parade participant and a member of the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church.

Thousands of spectators came to honor his legacy. Some said Dr. King stood for one thing:

"Freedom," said Ron McDonald, a parade spectator and a visitor from Canada. "That we should all have the freedom to do as we choose within the boundaries of the law."

Many credit Dr. King for galvanizing the civil rights movement.

And scholars rank his 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech as one of the most memorable of all time.

And for some living here, Dr. King's message is alive on our island paradise.

"As soon as I began living in Hawaii, I felt the aloha spirit and that to me, was a direct correlation of what Dr. King's message was," said Kathy Morris, a parade participant.

And that message is universal.

"When I go to another country where I am different, I would hope that they would give me a chance and judge me by the person that I am rather than just because of the color of my skin," said Joyce McDonald, a parade spectator.

As we start 2007, many hope for a color-blind society.

"It's about making this nation a better place, where we can strive as men and women together, to make sure that America truly stays the greatest nation on this earth," said Jerome Morris.

The annual parade stretched from Magic Island all the way to Kapi'olani Park. About 60 groups and 2,500 participants took part.