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St. Clair Shores

Youth invite community to celebrate diversity, dreams

Annual MLK Celebration at South Lake HS Jan. 21

January 16, 2013

Nearly 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. told the world about his dream, students in St. Clair Shores will come together to share theirs.

The St. Clair Shores Youth Diversity Council (SCSYDC) and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion will celebrate King’s day at 4 p.m. Jan. 21 at South Lake High School auditorium, 21900 E. Nine Mile Road, with the theme, “This is OUR Dream,” and a keynote address by South Lake High School Principal Carmen Kennedy.

“I think we represent very well because we are a collection of different faces, different backgrounds,” Kennedy said. “We represent the value of diversity.

“This event, I hope, will capture that all of us have dreams and that my story, your story, his story over there, are all significant. This is about our voices.”

The annual MLK Celebration rotates among the high schools each year to break down barriers between the students, said Maria Martinez, community organizer for the SCSYDC.

“We’ve come a long way, but it isn’t about just black and white,” she said. “The dream is about people who happen to be gay, lesbian, or want to be married or want to be a citizen of this country.

“It is going to reflect everything about the dreams of this community. The focus is to try to describe for all of us what the dream looks like today.”

The event will include a student-created video, “We have a dream,” that expresses their hopes and dreams for themselves, their community and the world; as well as the award winners of the different school districts’ events and their work.

In addition, the SCSYDC will present a community quilt, which is being created from submitted squares that tell of the creators’ stories, hopes and dreams for the community.

“Each person has the opportunity to create their own creation, their story on their cloth,” said Kennedy. “Our theme is our voices and we’re sharing our stories, so the quilt is helping us do that.”

Martinez said the quilt will hopefully be a lasting reminder of King’s, and the community’s, dreams.

“The goal is to grow this quilt regionally. Initially, we will present the part that we have done (and) then it will probably go from each school to be showcased,” then to the library and other locations throughout the city, she said. “The primary goal is just to get people active. Fifty years from now, we’ll look back at this quilt and it will be a piece of St. Clair Shores history.”

Kennedy said she was glad the entire event was created by, and around, the students.

“It’s our voices so I really think it’s a cool idea because, honestly, this is very student-driven,” she said. “I am so flattered and honored to be the keynote speaker. This, by no means, is anything about me and I hope that in my address that I honor and show recognition and speak on behalf of the students and just reflect on what I have learned from them.”

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