Today is Martin Luther King Day and hundreds of people gather to honor Dr. King at the 23rd Annual Bell Ringing Ceremony at Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
One young girl who was asked to lay roses at the foot of the MLK statue in the center of campus explains why this day is so important to her.
"It is equal nowadays and I'm happy that I get to go to school with all different kinds of races," Amani Davis.
The ceremony was then continued indoors where educators shared inspirational quotes from Dr. King.
Then everyone applauded this year's Spirit Award Winner: Dr. Wayne Martin.
Dr. Martin is a retired environmental scientist at Batelle's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
He is being recognized for his work in the community, primarily in education.
"Education is the solution," said Dr. Martin. "Whatever problem you might have, whatever challenge you might have, if you get educated about it, you'll obviously do better."
Dr. Martin was also a driving force behind establishing the Office of Diversity at CBC, helping increase the percentage of Hispanic students, and leading to millions of dollars in federal grants for all students at CBC.
He said he's thrilled to be honrored today.
"I'm humbled by it and I'm honored by it," said Dr. Martin. "I think the key thing is the community for which I do things is recognizing me for the things that I've done."
In 2004, Sciene Spectrum magazine named Dr. Martin on of the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Research Science.
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