Stateline MLK Day Celebration

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Monday our nation remembered slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. In Rockford, U.S. Sen. Barak Obama led the ceremonies at Midway Theatre.

Nearly 38 years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, his dream continues here in the stateline.

U.S. Sen. Barak Obama told a crowd of more than 100 at the Midway Theatre that his victory securing a Senate seat is proof that we've come a long way.

"That's inconceivable 20, 30, 40 years ago, so in that sense it's the best of times," says Obama.

Continuing Dr. King's legacy and making sure his struggles are not forgotten is why many say it was important for them to attend.

"So my daughter knows what civil rights is all about and that we're all equal," says Wendy Brandon.

"It's a great day. It's a historical day," says James Hawkins.

But while we have come a long way since the days of Dr. King, Obama and other local leaders say there is still work to be done. Specifically, bridging economic gaps and lowering incarceration rates.

"We have too many men being incarcerated, too many young men dropping out of school," says Rev. Perry Bennet.

Bennet marched with Dr. King. He's seen Dr. King's struggles firsthand and hopes younger generations don't take them for granted, and faced with tough decisions, Sen. Obama encourages all of us to walk in the footsteps of Dr. King.

"It's not whether we do the right thing when it's easy, but whether we do the right thing when it's hard," says Obama.