BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Today, we remember the life and impact of Baptist reverend and activist, Doctor Martin Luther King Junior.

Local organizations Peace Action, Veterans for Peace, and UpState Pax Christi held a ceremony this morning at the Martin Luther King statue by the Court Street bridge in Downtown Binghamton.

The event was dedicated to remembering MLK, specifically, his sermon on April 4th 1967 titled Beyond Vietnam.

Community organizer Jack Gilroy says that in that speech, King identified the three evils that he believed posed the biggest threat to society, poverty racism, and militarism.

Gilroy says that King’s advisors wanted him to focus his efforts on racism here in America, but King couldn’t just turn his head on those who needed help.

“And the safety of the people of Vietnam, where black and white young men are going and doing awful things to these people of color in Asia, is something that is something that is not just tied into American racism, it’s a problem of accepting violence over non-violence,” he said.

After reading several sections from King’s speech, Gilroy drew comparisons of Vietnam to the war in Ukraine.

After the ceremony, those in attendance walked across the bridge to the First Congregational Church of Binghamton to join in with the NAACP’s MLK Day festivities.