St. Petersburg, Florida -- Tampa Bay's first commemoration of Dr. King started just after sunrise Monday with St. Petersburg's MLK Leadership Breakfast.
Leaders -- black and white -- filled the Coliseum in St. Petersburg early Monday morning.
The message: It's great to think about Dr. King's legacy -- but what America needs is people living with and building onto that legacy.
Speaker Delatorro McNeal repeated to the crowd that "there's a King inside all of us," turning Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words into a call for action.
"To really develop the King that's inside of you, you gotta go after your passion!"
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The number of faces smiling, nodding, and applauding still stuns Signora Farris. She has been involved in nearly all 28 years of this annual breakfast.
"I feel good," Farris said. "We had started with, maybe, 300 when I first started. Now, we're up to a thousand."
Farris has seen this event grow -- hand in hand, she says, with Dr. King's legacy across the Bay area.
"They want to be here to get up this early in the morning. They want to be here to want to come out and hear a message about Dr. King that sometimes we don't hear all the time," she said.
Farris was a young adult when Dr. King was in his prime. She is still stirred by his passion and sacrifice.
This year marks 50 years since King helped pass the Civil Rights Act that outlaws racial discrimination.
Farris says that passage of time and the coming of new generations means we'll need fresh motivation like Delatorro McNeal's energetic speech Monday to keep the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive for the next 50 years.
"We have to tell them what he did. We have to show them why we're doing this," Farris said.
"They didn't know. But now, they're coming up to know what he has contributed and what he is going to continue to contribute."
We're proud to have had 10 News anchor Tammie Fields as the host for this breakfast.
It wrapped up just in time for everyone to get across town to take part in St. Petersburg's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade, which is one of the biggest in the Southeast.