Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 21, 2014

Youth Showcase celebrates mission of MLK Jr.

VALDOSTA — For 29 years, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Commemorative Committee has celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Since 1986, only three years after Dr. King’s birthday was declared a national holiday, the committee has been hosting annual events for the community, with different themes for each program.

This year’s theme was “Powerful, Passionate and Unforgettable Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The program began with a commemoration program on Sunday and concluded with the Youth Showcase on Monday.

It was standing room only as hundreds gathered at Mathis City Auditorium for showcase Monday, which began with speaker Valious Smith sharing her words of inspiration and encouragement. Her focus was on “living the dream” of Dr. King.

“My dream is that we will once again realize who we are and whose we are. We were some of the greatest inventors of all time, with things like air conditioning, clothes dryers and ironing boards. This shows me that we can accomplish the dream and become economically independent. We were meant to be the lender and not the borrower, above and not beneath, the head and not the tail. For there is greatness stored up in our blood. My dream is that we will make them hear us,” said Smith.

She continued, “My dream is that we will once again take pride in our education and that there will be more blacks getting degrees. Our young people will not be caught up in the latest fashions, the latest dances, and know every song on the rise. But they will go in the classrooms with good behavior and get their lessons. My dream is that the young people will get rid of the mentality that the world owes them something and realize that they can work to earn what they want.”

Shouting over a standing and applauding crowd, Smith concluded, “Continue fighting for the dream. Continue to do what is right because one day it wont be a dream anymore. Live for the dream. Thank you.”

The end of her speech marked the beginning of the youth showcase, featuring children and adults of all ages performing dances, skits and songs to honor the life of Dr. King. Performing during the program were First Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Greater Pleasant Temple Baptist Church, First Berean Baptist Church, Bright Start Preschool, Union Cathedral Ministry, River Street and Jackson Drive Churches of Christ, New Destiny Temple of Deliverance, Southside Recreation Center and Southside Church of Christ.

During many of the performances, children would share quotes from Dr. King, such as, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable.”

Between performances, Eric Cureton, who presided over the program with Wanda Cureton, shared stories and words of encouragement. He specifically spoke to the children present.

 “Sometimes you as youth are going to be short changed, but don’t let that stop you,” said Cureton.

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