PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Dozens of people marched 3 miles down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Portland, part of the ways residents honored the civil rights leader on the federal holiday in his honor.

The annual March for Human Rights and Dignity, organized by Don’t Shoot Portland, started about noon and went from Peninsula Park to the MLK statue at the Oregon Convention Center.

At the park, there were booths with PPE supplies, art supplies and educational books about race in America that were handed out for free. Organizers alos collected donations for the homeless.

This is the 8th year Don’t Shoot Portland has organized an MLK Day event. Those who participated said this year is just as important as ever, pointing to the record gun violence we’ve seen in Portland along with the continuing racial justice movements across the US.

Don’t Shoot Portland Board President Tai Carpenter, January 17, 2022 (KOIN)

“It’s a nice reminder for everyone as, like, you know, try to live by King’s words and his legacy and the fact that he did die as a result of gun violence and Portland has so much of this,” said Don’t Shoot Portland Board President Tai Carpenter. “This is a way to bring awareness and unity.”

“I’ve been marching since the ’70s for all kinds of issues,” Randi Moscoe said. “I’m just revolted to see how much we’ve had to continue. But I want to lend my voice as an advocate here because I believe we can make a better world if we speak up.”

“I think it’s really important, particularly for the young kids to understand the history of the United States and what went into making it a better place for everyone,” another marcher, Alex Salazar, said.

Those who marched were doing their part to “reclaim the dream” and bring the community together. Participants were asked to reflect on the increasing number of people affected by health inequities, public safety and fair housing that have been highlighted during the pandemic.

“We started a new year in Portland hearing the sounds of gun violence and fatal outcomes with no answers and families reeling in pain because of the lack of public safety, fair housing and a genuine investment and concern in their communities,” Carpenter said.