'Dream Summit' encourages youth to build a legacy

Antonio Leroy of ASU's CAAM program spoke to kids about setting the standards higher for themselves / Sarah Bleau

It was the goal for the 2012 Ward III Dream Summit to engage, encourage and empower Albany's youth to build their own legacy just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did.

"Dr. King always believed that we should be working and striving and I think he would want us to be doing these activities," says Ward III City Commissioner Christopher Pike. "That was really the thing that put all this in motion was 'How do we fulfill his legacy? How do we work toward what he's doing?' and this was a great way to do that."

During the Civil Rights Movement, King had a dream; today's generation has their own dreams for the country.

"I have a dream to stop all the violence and bring all black and white people like MLK said together," says Miracle Graham, a sixth grader at Merry Acres Middle School.

"Everybody just be able to get along and no one would have problems like bullying and stuff like that," says Jordan Davis, a seventh grader at Albany Middle School.

The Ward III Dream Summit 2012 brought professionals together to tell the kids if they work hard and set high standards for themselves they can achieve these dreams.

"We don't want these students to fall short of their dreams and the main and the overall message that we were trying to send to the students this morning is in order to change America they've got to change themselves," says Antonio Leroy, Executive Director for Albany State University's Center for the African-American Male (CAAM) and a speaker at the Dream Summit.

Students heard from various speakers and participated in workshops. From these activities many students took away the same message.

"He (the speaker) taught us about inspiration and what inspires us and motivates us to do better and one of the things he taught us was that your greatest inspiration is your failures," says Davis.

"He (Martin Luther King, Jr.) failed sometimes he made mistakes and things but he still got it together and he still did what he had to do," says Graham.

Despite failures and challenges, Dr. King left behind his legacy. The speakers want this upcoming generation to build their legacy just like he did.

"Today (MLK Day) is about remembering the legacy, the sacrifice not only Dr. King made but so many other people and sharing that same vision and that expression of legacy with our youth here in our area. Maybe we can have some future torchbearers who will pick up the cross, pick up the banner and pass the baton not only to their peers but to the next generation," says Leroy.

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