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King’s daughter to start day remembering his legacy

Bernice King

Bernice King

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Updated: March 24, 2013 6:09AM



When students from throughout Lake County gather Saturday morning in Gary to hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter speak, local officials hope their participation doesn’t end there.

That’s why Indiana University’s Community and School Partnerships program also created the Dream Symposium following Bernice King’s speech, Kim Morris-Newson, associate director for the partnership, said.

Saturday’s events will kick off at 9 a.m. at Van Buren Baptist Church, 3585 Van Buren St., with King’s youth rally, which is open to the public.

IU also invited 250 local students and their parents to attend several workshops at Indiana University Northwest on Saturday afternoon, where they’ll take part in workshops focusing on volunteering, entrepreneurship, healthy lives and education.

Morris-Newson said IU has other programs in place to help children prepare for college, but the university wanted a program that would encourage them to go out and use what they learn.

“We got excited, so now what are we going to do,” she said.

State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, is moderating one of the panels. He said the younger generation needs to learn about the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists from that time period and the need to continue his legacy.

“(We need) to get them to be aware that their day does not end at the end of the school day,” Brown said.

Northwest Indiana gets a bad rap with legislators from other areas in the state because of the negative attitude people have of the region, he said. Children can help change that mindset if they start to take part in their community in a positive way, even if it’s just helping to keep their neighborhood clean.

“Hopefully we will come away with this tremendous civic lesson, and they will become more engaged,” Brown said.

The younger generation also needs to stop seeing themselves as victims, State Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, said, and instead work to create a better life. Smith, who will also moderate one of the panels at the symposium, said he thinks baby boomers forgot to teach their children to have ambition and drive to improve their world, something he hopes students learn about Saturday.

“There’s no neutrality in life,” he said. “You’re either adding to the quality of life or subtracting from it.”

Morris-Newson said IU’s goal is to keep in touch with students who take part in the symposium in the coming months, and the partnership is looking at creating follow-up projects, such as volunteering with a group like the United Way or the Salvation Army, and setting up other events for the students to take part in.



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