|Updated: 1/20 9:36 pm
||Published: 1/20 4:55 pm
People gathered along streets in downtown Tulsa Monday for the 35th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.
King would have turned 85 this month. In honor of his life, on the third Monday in January people are encouraged to do community service.
The theme for this year's parade is "Living the Dream, Let Freedom Ring" and, it was written on the floats, on people's hoodies and for some people it's a daily motto.
"I try to share with them the stories and the things that happened," said Carmen Pettie, an organizer of the parade.
She and Ernestine Dillard shared stories from childhood with FOX23.
"I don't think I have words to explain the emotional magnitude and the passion I have for what we're doing particularly since it's a joint community effort," said Dillard.
She worked as a nurse in Memphis. She remembers the night King was shot from a rare perspective.
"I was working the night that Dr. King was assassinated and they brought him to St. Joseph's hospital in their emergency room," she said.
She told FOX23 it changed her life, her outlook, her mission.
"I saw the effects of hatred that could do that type of destruction and I chose from that night on to try and love," she said.
Growing up in Tulsa, Pettie has tried to do the same.
She remembers the times of segregation, but cut the ribbon in 1966 for the new integrated school, Remington Elementary.
"I remember my little Easter dress, it was a rainbow dress and I got to stand up there and take those little scissors and cut that ribbon," said Pettie.
Since then, she's seen herself as a champion for equal opportunities.