New Haven community celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in historic Love March

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Love March in New Haven has been going strong for 50 years. It celebrates the life and work of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.

The march started at the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. This year’s theme was stepping out of the past and into the future.

Pastor Kennedy Hampton Sr., with the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, said, “We’ve marched in rain, snow, sleet. It doesn’t matter what the weather is we’ve never canceled a Love March in 50 years.”

Virginia Hampton’s father, Rev. George W. Hampton Sr.. started the march.

“He was sitting at the church on the green and the lord came to him and told him to start his own march and call it the Love March and we’ve been walking ever since,” said Hampton.

January 15 has special meaning because it is Dr. King Jr’s birthday. He would have been 91-years-old.

“It feels great that we can march on his day and show that we believe in equality,” said Wanda Faison.

Pastor Hampton Sr. added, “As a little kid I’ve been in every one of the love marches from its conception to the present time.”

Nearly 70 students from a handful of schools participated in the march.

Faison added, “It’s teaching them something and they can teach their kids as their kids get older. It’s teaching them about how to appreciate life.”

Pastor Kennedy Hampton Sr. said it’s about keeping Dr. King Jr’s spirit alive.

“We need to continue the fight, continue the work and together we stand and divided we fall. And the purpose of the march is to show strength in unity,” said Pastor Hampton Sr.

WEB EXTRA: “We are marching each and every day” – marchers prepare for Love March

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