‘Everyone Belongs': Attendees of Embrace Statue Unveiling Honor MLK's Legacy

People who attended the unveiling of The Embrace, a memorial honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King that now stands on Boston Common, reflected on how far our country has come on inclusion and the work that still needs to be done

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Dozens gathered at Boston Common to witness the unveiling of The Embrace statue honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Pratema Patil took her children because she wanted them to experience a historic moment.

"It's a way of showing them that things can get better cities can grow, voting matters, civic engagement matters, and there is a place for everyone, and everyone belongs," she said.

Her son, Shahan Patil Dutta, said he saw himself in the statue.

"Some of the other monuments in parks don't represent people of color so much, but this one does, so I can see myself in one of the monuments," he said.

The monument commemorating the love between civil rights icons Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King was unveiled Friday.

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante is a professor of African American studies at Temple University. He and his wife traveled from Philadelphia to attend.

"Looking at the diversity of people who have come out here, and also just watching the fact that this celebration makes people happy, it shows me that there is an optimistic strand in the American society that we ought to not only celebrate, but we ought to encourage," said Asante.

Martin Luther King III, his wife Arndrea Waters King and their daughter Yolanda King spoke at Friday's unveiling of "The Embrace," a memorial honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

"When I saw the unveiling of this statue, it was joy, happiness, some sadness as well as disappointment, because it reminded of how far we've come as a country and how far we need to go," said Ed Scheinbart of Watertown. "The progress we've made has been incredible, but this statue will bring home, I hope, to everyone who comes here from near and far, that we must embrace love and we must embrace humanity and see the goodness and the kindness in people."

Kenann McKenzie-DeFranza, president of the North Shore branch of the NAACP, said the event brought unity.

"I think we've been so polarized and to have an event in the city, the idea of embracing is really just a spiritual lesson for all of us," McKenzie-DeFranza said. "I also like the idea of embracing those we don't agree with sometimes, and this moment in our history, I think it's really critical that we rethink that position and embrace that idea."

NBC10 Boston's Latoyia Edwards was so impressed by Yolanda King's speech at Friday's unveiling of 'The Embrace' that she called her back up on the stage for an impromptu interview.

"He was a marvelous man, he did so much for the world -- not just African Americans, he was a man of peace and we need to honor him," said Nacie Graves.

The 82-year-old became emotional reflecting on her own experiences.

"We're in a better place because of him. There is still a lot to be done. Red lining still exists," Graves said. "I know when I went to buy my first house, we went out to Winchester and stopped in and the woman gave us a card. Didn't even go with us to see the house we wanted to see. That was many years ago, and things have changed, but it still exists."

Damien Williams and his family attended to celebrate their family members who were among the 65 activists also honored by the memorial.

"My grandfather is Vernon Carter and grandmother is Arlene Carter, who worked very closely with Martin Luther King when he came to Boston and the legacy that was done here, so seeing this come to full fruition and full circle, it's a beautiful thing the city of Boston has done here," he said.

"This is part of our life we need to continue to put it forward," said Elora Williams. "This isn't the end, we need to keep going and do community service and change the world for the better."

PHOTOS: The Embrace Unveiled on Boston Common

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