Martin Luther King, Jr. Honored in Springfield

One of many events commemorating Martin Luther King Day Monday took place in a Springfield shopping mall.

Local elected officials and a crowd of about 200 people gathered to listen and sing along with Springfield's Martin Luther King Charter School of Excellence choir:

[Sound of children and adults singing, "We Shall Overcome."]

Brittany Jenkins, a senior at Commerce High School, volunteers with Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, the organization that held the event, which also included speeches from politicians and youth dance performances. Jenkins says the event temporarily changed the mood in the mall.

"I believe that it changes the mood because it brings us together as a community. It's not just everybody staring at everybody shopping. You know, we can actually shake hands and get to know everybody as a community, not just individuals."

Zaida Govan, a Springfield resident, listened and said that Martin Luther King's message of unity is particularly important during an election year.

"Today I believe that we're kind of like in the same place but I'm hoping that it's a little more progressive. You know, we haven't arrived, we haven't realized his dream as of yet but I think we are a little bit closer."

Other Martin Luther King day events included an annual memorial service in Pittsfield for the slain civil rights leader, and an official ceremony in Hartford at the state Capitol.