Youth celebrate King’s legacy at luncheon

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NATCHEZ — More than 1,000 people gathered in Natchez Monday to remember the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.

And for many children and young adults at the 10th annual Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture’s “I Have A Dream” youth luncheon, the banquet served as a time to share a few dreams of their own.

Guest speaker Courtland Morgan, a senior at Ferriday High School, challenged the young people in attendance to keep King’s dream alive and not let their own dreams go unfulfilled because of feelings of inadequacy.

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“Many tend to question whether that dream still lies within this country,” Morgan said. “But the question is whether that dream still lies within us.”

Morgan said the dream is still alive, but it has to be nurtured and kept alive within the next generation.

Morgan’s message was for his peers to not give up on the future they dream of for themselves.

“As children and as the future generation of this country, our hopes and our dreams are constantly being criticized and are being ridiculed and labeled as unrealistic,” Morgan said.

“Your dream is your destiny,” Morgan said. “Take your place in this world. As children, the time you don’t realize is now. We don’t realize how important it is. As children we tend to ignore the opportunities that change our lives.”

Morgan said the fear of failure is one of the biggest enemies for young men and women to conquer when it comes to achieving their dreams.

“Don’t let the risk of what my happen scare you and cheat you out of the benefit that lies on the other side,” Morgan said.

Evelyn Smith, a member of the Zeta Delta Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Sorority, Inc., was in attendance with the Rosettes, the chapter’s mentoring group for young women, and she said has great hopes for the young ladies in the program.

“I like that they get to hear about Dr. King’s dreams and aspirations and they are encouraged to keep the dream alive,” Smith said. “My dream for the next generation is world peace, love and harmony.”

Rosette Tyrenni Berry, 11, said she has a dream of her own she will one day pursue.

“I want to be a lawyer,” Berry said.

From Morgan’s message, Berry said she is going to work toward her dream with a purpose and with her head held high.

“I will always speak highly of myself,” Berry said.

Fellow Rosette Quarneshya Taylor, 13, said she is a firm believer in King’s dream and will continue building toward her own.

“I want to become a pediatrician,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the key to achieving any dream is something that comes naturally.

“(People) just need to be themselves,” Taylor said.

NAPAC President Rev. LeRoy White said the luncheon was set up this year to be geared toward young people in the area and their accomplishments.

“It’s about their talent today,” White said.

White said the luncheon also gave young people the opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishments.

“They want to get as much adoration as they can, so they have been practicing for their performances (for today’s luncheon),” White said.

White said this is the first year the event has been set up with an all-youth led program, and said he hoped young people not involved in the day’s showcase of talent could see their options for creative outlets.

“My dream is that (the youth) will see they can fulfill their dreams no matter what they obstacles are,” White said.