Dare to dream: Area youth celebrate King’s vision, courage, purpose
Published 12:19 am Tuesday, January 19, 2016
NATCHEZ — To Xavian Lewis, 13, Martin Luther King Jr. followed the instructions set forth in the Bible’s James 2:17 — that if a man has faith and no works, then faith is dead.
“Dr. King was a man who had a dream, and not only did he have a dream, but he had some faith to go along with it,” Lewis said.
Lewis was the guest speaker at the Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture’s “I Have A Dream” MLK Youth Luncheon Monday. The theme was “Dream with a Vision, Live with a Purpose.”
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“It’s an event that we look forward to every year, and it’s an opportunity for young people to show their talents,” NAPAC board member Flora Terrell said.
Throughout the morning, local youth sang, danced and recited speeches and poems in celebration of King.
“It’s an honor to just do something in his name,” Lewis said.
From her position next to the stage, Damira McGruder, 15, waited to introduce different acts. McGruder was master of ceremonies for the day.
It’s not her first time at the luncheon. She’s been a performer, as well as a guest speaker, in the past.
“When you have youth talking to youth, they tend to understand more,” McGruder said.
But Kaleab Robinson, 15, who played “Thank You Lord” on his saxophone, said some people forget King’s accomplishments. McGruder said King wouldn’t be pleased with some of the recent violent protests, since he advocated non-violence.
“We’re not holding up to that,” McGruder said.
But McGruder said she also believes everyone has come a long way since King preached his message of equality and peace, and Robinson believes the luncheon stops people from forgetting.
“This is a good way to get everyone to come together to remember the good things he has done in the past,” Robinson said.
It’s a feeling Lewis shares. During his speech, Lewis told the audience King’s dream of coming together, being one and for equality, still lives.
“I dare you to compel change, I dare you to work it until something happens,” Lewis said.
Other performances also contained a call to action, including Kaliyah Dunmore, 18, who sang “Indescribable” by Kierra Sheard. After her song, she told the audience she had been in a car accident last Wednesday.
“It’s because of God’s amazing power that I left with minor injuries,” Dunmore said.
Dunmore called for the audience to be grateful to God for every breath no matter what’s going on in their lives.
“I stand amazed in his power to perform miracles and do outstanding things at the least expected times,” Dunmore said after the event.
In his speech, Lewis also mentioned some of the obstacles King had to overcome. But, to King, Lewis said everyone in the audience was worth it.
“It’s now time to realize your self-worth,” Lewis said.