Marlena Hartz : CNJ Staff Writer
The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. could be in jeopardy, according to President of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Clovis Joyce Pollard.
“A lot young people today don’t know about Martin Luther King Jr. — about what he stood for, about what he fought for,” the former kindergarten teacher said.
For this reason, the MLK Commission has made the youth of Clovis the pinnacle of this year’s 14th annual birthday celebration of the famous civil rights activist, Pollard said.
“If you are young, Black American and you don’t know anything about the civil rights movement, then you are lost. You cannot comprehend why a person would dislike you simply because of the color of your skin,” Pollard said.
The MLK Commission aims to bolster student participation in the annual celebration by following a tradition which began last year in which the Clovis school with the largest participation in a Jan. 16 march and rally in honor of King is given a traveling trophy.
In addition, this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast keynote speaker, Col. Delores Forrest of Cannon Air Force Base, was chosen largely because she is a positive role model for youth, Pollard said.
“Her presence and her background speak for itself. It is a text in itself,” said Selmus Price, a commissioner on the state and Clovis MLK Commissions.
Forrest is the commander of the 27th Medical Group at Cannon. She has been assigned to various installations around the nation and in Germany. She will speak at MLK Breakfast Jan. 14 at the Clovis High School as part of the Commission’s attempt to reach the Clovis youth.
“The youth are the torchbearers for our future,” Price said. “It is them who will continue the work Dr. King set before us.”
That work, Price and Pollard said is not yet finished. But events such as annual the march, rally and breakfast will help ensure that, someday, it may be.