ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Monday was “Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” a day where the country honors the civil rights leader.

The City of Rockford and the Rockford Public Library held a celebration at the Nordloff Center. There were choirs from local churches and dance performances. The Rockford Youth Poet read an original and the MLK scholar gave a powerful speech.

Young people were given a platform to honor Dr. King.

“Martin Luther King Day, for me, is a constant reminder that we have not arrived yet, and if we are going to make his dream a reality, we all have to serve,” said Reverend Dr. K. Edward Copeland, pastor at New Zion Baptist Church.

The Rockford community gathered to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Local churches and service groups came together in unity.

“This was a great way for us to come together on a day that was designed for us to really think about and strive for community,” Copeland said.

One way they honored King was by providing a platform for young people.

“Dr. King, very often we forget, Dr. King was extremely young,” Copeland said. “He was not an old man leading this movement, and, so, my challenge to the young people is to recognize. Don’t wait for the old people to come up with the solution. You have your own lives in your own hands, and we’re looking for you to make a difference and to start serving and leading us.”

Through song, dance, poetry, spoken word and prayer, the celebration was a reminder of all that King accomplished and all the work that still has to be done.

“My father actually marched with Dr. King. My father is alive, Dr. King should be alive,” Copeland said. “And it just reminds me that our history is not ancient and that very often we forget the fact that all the things we celebrate him for were within a lifetime ago, and the fight still goes on.”

Donations from Monday’s event will benefit Rockford Promise and other community organizations.