MLK celebrations in Tucson

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- On Sunday, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have celebrated is 83rd birthday.

To honor his dream of equality and peace, Tucson residents hit the streets for the annual MLK march and festival.

They marched in Selma in 1965 for civil rights and in 2012 they march in Tucson to keep the dream alive, the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alicia Kirkland was one of hundreds who came out to march Monday, she has been apart of the celebration for the last 20 years.

"He spoke equality and peace and this day brings out that when you look around you see all different races people come out and celebrate in peace and that's what we continue to strive for," said Kirkland.

School may have been out of session, but Monday Kirkland gave her youngest son a history lesson. She was teaching him the importance of being involved with the community.

"So that they can kind of get involved with what's going on, on the day.  So why not come out and engage in the event," Kirkland said.

A group from Tucson Unified School District's African American studies mentor program took part in the events for the first time, "It's so much fun you just feel good like knowing that your walking for something that happened so long ago to keep it alive and its really cool, the overall experience is amazing."

The group has been taught the importance of the marches back in the 60s.  And as future leaders of their communities, they know they can have a huge impact on others, "As young adults we have an impact on the younger generations so making that impact to affect other people and change what we have today."

This is the 26th year of the MLK celebration and organizers say, the number of marchers increases each year.

The first MLK march in Tucson took place in 1986, three years after president Ronald Reagan declared a federal holiday to honor Dr. King.