IPS’ MLK holiday program challenges youths to engage in civic duties

Indianapolis Public Schools tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public schools is keeping the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. alive.

The district on Friday had its 39th tribute program. People packed the auditorium Friday at Crispus Attucks High School for the MLK holiday. Speakers said young people were the lifeblood that kept the Civil Rights Movement alive. Speakers also challenged youths to continue King’s push for equality.

Guest speaker Brandon Cosby said, “We really need to focus on the reasons why and how we can be together.”

The event included a group of youngsters delivering King’s iconic “I have a dream” speech he delivered in 1963.

King in his speech called for all ethnicities to one day come together without discrimination.

At Friday’s event, IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson challenged students to become engaged not just by heading off to college, the military or workforce, but also in civic duties.

Johnson said, “When you look at data and you look across all sectors, when you look at housing, health care, criminal justice, education, you still see gaps play out by race in our country.”

But, Cosby said, there’s time to fix that if young people take the reins.

“I think sometimes we have forgotten that young people and their voices, in their opinions and their power and presence, has really been the lifeblood of the movement of civil rights,” Cosby said.

He said conversations too often center on what young people are doing wrong instead of pointing out where they can do right.

“Dr. King was a very young man at the center of that Civil Rights Movement in so I think sometimes we need to do a better job of recognizing and creating space for the youth to really be able to take the lead,” Cosby said.