While students were out of school Monday in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, education did not stop for youth who attended the MLK Luncheon at Rounds Park.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Lurann Thomas partnered with Fed Ex Ground senior manager Yosheika Ray to organized the luncheon.
“The purpose of this luncheon for our children today is to educate them about Dr. Martin Luther King and how he died for justice and equality,” she said. “Fed Ex Ground partnered with us to make sure the day would become a reality for our children.”
The youth listened, learned, lunched and played happily at Rounds Recreation Center.
Jasmine Jackson, who is a seventh grader at Coleman Middle School, said she knows without Dr. King accomplishing what he did, “things would be very different in the world she lives in today.”
Kollan Dertison, also a seventh grader at Coleman Middle School, shared he learned Dr. King was a civil rights activist and he died to make sure everyone had equal rights.
When asked what is one thing he admires most about Dr. King he responded, “He really did a lot of things to make sure black and white people lived in peace.”
Founder and CEO of New Conscious Guardians Inc. Wayne Gibson spoke to the youth during the luncheon as well.
“One of my first reports I remember in elementary school was on Dr. Martin Luther King and I expounded on the significance of his life and what he stood for — civil rights and human rights, so it was a very powerful message with me starting very young,” he said.
“And now, for me to come back home after 30 years and starting a youth nonprofit, I can see myself in the streets with these same youth. I was them, we grew up in poverty and were poor so it’s a great message for unity. If you get unity, there’s victory in unity, so it’s a great message to celebrate the life of one of our most magnificent people, Dr. Martin Luther King,” Gibson said.
In her third year serving as Ward 4 Councilwoman, Thomas said she would like to continue putting on the event.
“I would like to continue doing it because we need to educate our children, our children are our future and without education and knowing who Dr. Martin Luther King was and what he stood for, we’d be doing them an injustice,” she said. “So we want to make sure that our children are educated about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all the wonderful things he did for our nation.”