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Syracuse University celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Syracuse University celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday
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It has been 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous march on Washington. Saturday night Syracuse University continued its tradition of keeping Dr. King's memory alive. Our Candace Hopkins has the inspirational story.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words and message of equality filled the Carrier Dome.

"In our collective struggle for freedom, and for justice and for equality for all, requires men and women with mental sharpness, and courage and clarity, to make this nation what it ought to be," said Keynote Speaker and NAACP Board Chairman Roslyn Brock.

Brock says although progress has been made in the past 50 years, the nation still has a long way to go.

"We find ourselves now and our society in a backdrop of fiscal cliff conversations, double digit unemployment for African Americans and minority communities, and a devastating, persistent poverty in those communities, and the issues still need to be addressed," said Brock.

That's what Saturday's theme was all about, community outreach. And several people were honored for their work with the Unsung Hero Award, including Fayetteville Middle Schooler Adena Rochelson. She started collecting toiletries for her local food bank, after discovering the facility rarely had enough supplies to go around.

"I was first inspired just by seeing that empty self and knowing that people would go home and they wouldn't be able to brush their teeth or wash their face or wash their hair and I was going to be able to," said Rochelson.

In the past two years she has donated nearly seven thousand items, and hopes her work will encourage others to help out. "Everyone has something that calls to them, and once you find that you will be really inspired by what you found."

Organizers say finding that inspiration and turning it into something positive is what keeps Doctor King's spirit alive. This is the 28th year of the celebration. It is one of the largest M.L.K. remembrance ceremonies in the nation.

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