Mayor Matt Santini had a simple question for the youth who participated in Monday's Brotherhood March in honor of the city's King Day celebrations -- "Who got next?"
Santini said if you go to any park to play basketball that's the first question you ask and he extends it to future leaders.
"We're looking for future community leaders, the people who give of themselves for the service of others," he said.
Santini said the names of past leaders are too numerous to mention, but their work speaks volumes.
He said they stepped forward to see this community through desegregation of schools and fought to see that all are treated equally.
"The benefit of their time and effort benefit us all today," Santini said
He said they lived the words of Dr. King about standing in times of challenge and controversy.
Santini urged the youth to thank the leaders of the past and present for their contributions to the community, making it peaceful and respectful.
He said he has great confidence that many youth will step forward and say, "I got next."
The Brotherhood March was just one of the many events held in Bartow County on Monday. On Monday morning, both young and older generations packed the sanctuary of St. Luke A.M.E Church for the Youth Rally.
A variety of talent was represented, including a rap by XXODYS (Xtraordinary Xpression of a Driven Young Soldier) entitled the "Test of Time." The 30-year-old Bartow resident performed a rap about Dr. King's life.
Bartow County Commissioner Clarence Brown also read a proclamation naming Jan.17, 2011, a Day of Celebration in Bartow and Cartersville in honor of the legacy and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The day of celebration concluded at The Cartersville Civic Center where Rev. William E. Reed of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Cassville was the keynote speaker.
Linda Ford Kellogg, chairperson of the MLK Holiday Committee, said she is pleased with the success of the celebrations. "It's like when you raise your kids and they all start doing well in life, my heart is so full."
Ella Morrison, 72, who said she usually marches, but fell on the ice last week, said she enjoyed seeing the youth participate. "It's wonderful, I'm glad because they are the future of tomorrow."