HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Many across Connecticut are honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through virtual events, tributes, and a call to action on voting rights.

King, who would have turned 93 on Jan. 15, was just 39 when he was assassinated in 1968 while helping sanitation workers strike for better pay and workplace safety in Memphis, Tennessee.

Manchester pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. with a mural

The Connecticut State Missionary Baptist Convention held its virtual 2022 MLK Celebration.

“Dr. King and unsung heroes fought for voting rights in the Black and white clips of the 1960s, and here we are in living color 60 years later fighting for voting rights today,” Rev. Dr. John E. Cotton Jr., Congress of Christian Education’s president. “So, a lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same. And if we measure against the other aspects of society, we could say that things have gotten worse because we should be further along.”

Dr. Franklyn Richardson, a pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York and chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches, spoke at the virtual celebration as well.

“This division empowers racism. This polarization that has grabbed our country, that is exhibited in the United States Congress where we are divided on every issue,” Richardson said. “Divided to a state of paralysis, that we can’t even get the Voter Rights Act passed that is so vital to the consciousness of our communities.”

Hundreds of people came out to Washington D.C. to march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge for the annual Martin Luther King Day Peace Walk. Martin Luther King III, the son of Martin Luther King Jr., used the event to call on lawmakers to pass voting rights legislation.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. service at the slain civil rights leader’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta remotely from Washington, argued that Americans’ freedom to vote is “under assault” by GOP laws in Georgia and other states that she said could make it harder for 55 million Americans to vote.

In observance of the national holiday, schools, government agencies, businesses, and banks were closed.