CRESTVIEW Inspiring others could help overcome toxic trends in the African American community, the Rev. Edwin Stallworth, of 6th Avenue Baptist Church in Florala, Ala., says.


CRESTVIEW  Inspiring others could help overcome toxic trends in the African American community, the Rev. Edwin Stallworth, of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Florala, Ala., says.  



  "... We have digressed in many ways ... with the prison system, teenage pregnancies, high school drop-outs, and black-on-black crime" he said during Saturday's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. "We need to inspire individuals, who would go back to their homes and communities and inspire others."



Watch video from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Crestview >>



See 10 photos from the celebration>>



Recognizing King's legacy, as an estimated 30 residents had in last weekend's parade, raises awareness about the importance of African Americans' advancement, he said. 



Such a simple act, with positive reinforcement of goals and values, can make all the difference, Stallworth said.



"It's about respect," longtime Crestview resident Jerry Lewis said during the event, presented by the Concerned Citizens Group of Crestview and the Carver-Hill Memorial and Historical Society. "If you don't demonstrate respect, you can't expect your children to."



Jerry's granddaughter, J.R. Lewis who sang "Lift Every Voice" and "We Shall Overcome" during the celebration said she fears her peers don't fully grasp the significance of King's achievement.



"I honestly don't think (younger generations) fully realize the importance of it ... I think it's important that they learn," she said.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.