Hundreds gather to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Arthur 'Pappy' Kennedy

Nearly one-thousand people gathered at Orlando First Baptist Church of Orlando to honor the lives and legacies of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Orlando’s first African-American city council member, Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy.

“Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy broke the color barrier for a black elected officials and today we are all standing on his shoulders and the shoulders of civil rights giants like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said current Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Demings was the keynote speaker at the 28th annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast. During his speech, Demings spoke about diversity and how far Orange County has come since Kennedy was elected to the Orlando city council in 1972. “When we all come together and all people are included we are much stronger as a community,” Mayor Demings said.

Kennedy’s great grandson, David Kennedy, said he is still in awe of his great-grandfather’s accomplishments. “Just to see that my great grandfather around the same time Dr. King was leaving his mark on our society was here in this local community doing what Dr. King was doing on a national stage; It was a really a blessing.”

Deming hopes to continue their efforts and said he will focus on inclusion during his tenure as mayor. “We’re going to recruit for diversity in our county we are going to promote for diversity in our county.”