To forge a better future for Milledgeville, its young people are looking to past lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.
Students from elementary school to high school have been studying the late civil rights leader’s messages and powerful oratorical style.
Veronica Womack, chief diversity officer in the Georgia College Office of Inclusive Excellence, said she’s interested in young people learning more about King and his philosophy.
The college, Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce and local chapters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People partnered with schools to sponsor a multimedia contest asking the students for solutions to inequality.
“I was just floored by the participation and by the quality of the work,” Womack said in a release.
Students were asked to read King’s 1967 “Where Do We Go From Here?” speech in Atlanta, which includes the line: “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
Womack emphasized that changes in the community have to begin in the heart.
“Before we can make any external changes, we have to have internal change. And I think the students picked up on that,” she said.
To foster better race relations, the college is hosting its first MLK Community Breakfast from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Friday in the Magnolia Ballroom at the Student Activities Center. Tickets have to be purchased through the chamber of commerce and will not be available at the door.
Contest winners will be announced during the breakfast, and excerpts will be shared from the best entries and art will be on display.
Georgia College President Steve Dorman, Milledgeville Mayor Gary Thrower, SCLC Vice President Quentin T. Howell of the Milledgeville chapter, chamber President Angie Martin and the incoming president of the Baldwin County NAACP, Cynthia Edwards, are expected to speak at the event, which is open to the community.
Womack said the breakfast is just the first step toward bridging inequality.
“My hope is that we start with breakfast and are able to eat together and talk together and see each other as humans. Then our next step is how we can develop our community even better than what it actually is.”