KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Winter weather canceled the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade, but East Tennesseeans didn’t let it stop them from gathering to celebrate Dr. King’s life at Overcoming Believers Church in Knoxville

The service was held in an effort to honor the life of MLK, his accomplishments and the African American culture as a whole. The service was compiled of different segments including a sermon from Pastor Daryl Arnold, music that is meaningful to the African American culture, and youth testimonies.

“Having youth voices speak out is important because sometimes things get lost in translation,” said Bishop Farris Long. “Hearing them speak ensures that the message has not been lost and they understand the journey is not over.”

One of the youth testimonies came from Elijah Batiste, a member of the Jack and Jill organization. Batiste looks to MLK as a role model in more ways than one.

“Even when the odds were against him, he prevailed,” said Batiste. “He showed how successful he could be, how educated he was, and how he wouldn’t let anyone stop him from being successful.”

Andrew Roberto of the City Council believes this service is sending the right message to the public.

“The message of peace, unity and working towards equity and equality is just as important today as it was years and years ago,” said Roberto.