News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 18, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Dr. Martin Luther King would have turned 79 years old this year. This coming Monday is the King federal holiday. News 12 has the story of some young people now looking to make their mark.
A visionary's dream seemed to take shape Friday as hundreds of young college students of all ethnicities gathered for the Tri-College King Day celebration. Students from Paine College, MCG and Augusta State all held hands as a sign of unity. The keynote speaker was Congressman John Lewis.
"I truly believe that we are in the process of laying down the burden of race," said Rep. Lewis.
Congressman Lewis is considered one of the big six leaders of the civil rights movement. Devon Williams is a student at Augusta State University who is looking to follow in his footsteps.
"Those older generations once they see the younger generations doing something I feel like it is a powerful statement. When I see younger kids standing up for something it makes me feel like if they can do it why can't I do it," she said.
Rep. Lewis spoke to a crowd of 750. Overflow seats were set up in the hall. Lewis says after 40 arrests it makes him proud to see people taking a seat for social justice. "I'm very pleased," he said. "Really, it's always good to get out...especially to see young people. To see students helps to keep me young."
Lewis is inspired by students like Tiffany Cooks. She is one of 36 Paine College students who took a trip to Jena, Louisiana in peaceful protest after racial tensions at a local high school there landed several black teens in jail. "I think it's very important in this day and age that we carry on the legacy that was handed down to us for empowerment for equal rights," she said.
And so the dream lives on through young people like Tiffany and Devon. "Kids are pretty powerful you know...no matter what age they are...they'll be heard," said Devon.