One day before President Barack Obama was sworn as the nation’s 44th president, dozens of local residents gathered in Slidell’s Griffith Park for a walk to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Sponsored by the Tau Iota Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the walk was held as part of a national day of service.
“It’s not a day off, it’s a ‘day on’,” said Simeon Goines, walk coordinator.
The president-elect had called on citizens across the country to participate and to make an ongoing commitment to community service. Proceeds from the Slidell walk will go toward the K-Bar-B Youth Ranch, the Council on Aging St. Tammany and the Southeast Louisiana Spouse Abuse Program.
Goines said the group hoped to register 100 people for the event, and had nearly reached that goal by Monday morning. Among those participating in the walk, which wound through historic Olde Towne, were Krewe of Mona Lisa & Moon Pie President Tom Collins and Mrs. Louisiana 2009, Tiffani Dunklin.
As snippets of Dr. King’s historic speeches played in the background, Dunklin reflected on the ceremony that would install the nation’s first African-American president the following day.
“It’s something I honestly never thought I would see in my lifetime,” said Dunklin. “There’s also never been an African-American Mrs. America, and I hope to change that.”