BY KARISSA MILLER
Students from across Iredell County came to the Unity Center on Saturday morning to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy ahead of the holiday and participate in a variety of activities geared for younger people.
There were materials for painting murals that reflect the dream as well as bracelets, anklets and necklaces. Other activities included an acrostic poem, a quilt activity and a science table for conducting experiments.
“Today is a day that we want the youth to get to know about Martin Luther King. We want to show them that there’s ways for them to be inspired by his dream through the activities,” said one of the organizers, Marlene Scott.
Students from the Juvenile Justice program helped younger children so that they could get their community service hours. The event was sponsored by the City of Statesville.
One of the participants, Syniah Green, is using her talents to live out her dreams. She started selling artwork about a year ago after her friends were brainstorming about creating a fake business.
“I thought if I have all this talent and can draw, why not start my own business? Why not express myself through these painting and bracelets?” Green recalled.
“The purpose of me creating this business is I wanted to share my talent with the world,” she added.
Green uses acrylic paint to create abstract works of art that come in all different shapes and sizes.
“It’s really a random pick and it’s based on how I feel that day. My paintings are how I express myself,” Green explained.
One work that she’s proud of is entitled “I see.”
“It’s about whatever you see in it. It is about seeing different points of view,” she said.
Scott said the event was not just about the dream. It’s also about celebrating freedom.
“Celebrating our opportunity to eat, work, travel and go places our ancestors couldn’t go. It’s about celebrating our youth of tomorrow—who will become our leaders of tomorrow,” she said.
Erica Gray, a litigation paralegal, and Myan Gray, a teacher at Third Creek Middle School, also spoke to the youth about their experiences attending Winston-Salem State University.
Erica said the values of the school are “Enter to learn, depart to Serve,” which she said is also an apt description of the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders.
Myan told students that their hardest year in college will be their freshman year. She recommended not signing up for 8 a.m. classes if you aren’t a morning person.
Speaker Shae Long, a volunteer at the art craft table, told students it’s important to establish a good foundation while you are young.
“You all have the tools inside of you to be exactly who you want to be. Don’t let anyone else define you,” Long said.
Rochelle Brown, lead organizer with the MLK Planning Xommittee, challenged students to begin thinking about their future today.
“Find what works for you and then do it,” she said.
Brown, who is an instructional science coach, also led the table of science experiments where students could see animal and plant cells up close, human cheek cells and experience osmosis and chemistry.
After activities concluded, lunch was served to everyone in attendance.