BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "No Vote, No Voice" was the theme for the 2015 celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior's birthday. It was in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Right Act of 1965.
Mount Zion Baptist Church was filled with love, hope, and promise. Civic and religious leaders gathered with adults and children to remember the slain civil rights leader.
"God, we thank you for the legacy of the man, Martin Luther King, Junior and the vision you gave him," Pastor Dr. Rene Brown.
While they were all there for a celebration, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden acknowledged it comes at a time when joy is missing.
"We are here today to honor a person that believed deeply in non-violence and yet we wake up to a newspaper article that basically says four killed in weekend shootings," Holden said.
Through the singing, dancing, and worship that filled the church many leaders paused to offer solutions to the recent violence in the city.
Former U.S. Congressman Cleo Fields referenced the Constitution and the Holy Bible.
"No matter color of skin or accent of speech, we must just learn to love and respect one another. The Constitution requires it and the Bible demands it," Fields said.
The leaders stressed the importance of all church groups working together.
Reverend Robin McCullough-Bade presented a call to action specifically to strengthen the public school system.
"The issues we face are complex, and we need the intellectual wisdom of all of us," Bade said.
Mayor-President Holden told the congregation, it starts with them.
"It's time we do a self evaluation," Holden said.