Several hundred people celebrated the King holiday in Lexington by gathering in the city streets to honor the lives -- especially Black and brown lives -- lost to COVID-19 and racial violence. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.
By 10:30 Monday morning, more than 450 people had gathered for the fifth annual MLK community celebration put on by the Community Anti-Racism Effort, or CARE, of Rockbridge. A cold wind blew in light flurries of snow as more people trickled in, filling three blocks of Main Street in downtown Lexington. Church bells tolled to begin a few minutes of silence.
[sound of bells tolling]
Robin LeBlanc is the vice president of CARE Rockbridge.
ROBIN LEBLANC: … this is the majority of my community, a community that confronts racism every day. And that we're not alone, even if we have to stand six feet apart, we are together in the battle for justice, love, and equality. And there are believers of every type and every age in that struggle. And that's where this nation and that's where this community is going.
As the moment of silence ended, chants rippled uphill through the crowd.
[sound of chants, singing]
But the event wasn't entirely without political statement. Jade Harris attended from Glasgow, Virginia, with a sign that read "Cline Must Resign," referring to Sixth District Republican Ben Cline. Even after the insurrection at the capitol on January 6th, Cline joined a majority of Republicans in the House who voted against certifying votes for President-Elect Joe Biden from two other states.
JADE HARRIS: I just really wanted to voice because, you know, he's been enabling white supremacy. He's our 6th district congressman. I thought it was important to bring it up here as well.