Reclaim MLK Day: A Youth of Color Led Rally & March to Reclaim a Leader’s Legacy on Jan. 15 at the Village Leadership Academy

Chicago—(ENEWSPF)—January 13, 2015 – On Thursday, January 15, an intergenerational coalition of activists and community members, led by youth of color, will hold a march and rally aimed at reclaiming the radical legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Grade schoolers, high school students, young adults, and longtime activists have collaborated to organize this action. Attendees will gather outside the Village Leadership Academy (VLA), 1001 W. Roosevelt Rd, at 6pm, before marching to the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, at 1100 South Hamilton Avenue, for an artful demonstration and speak out.

Allied organizations and community members will also be be holding a series of daytime solidarity events, which will include both educational workshops and creative direct actions.

Organizers are responding to a national call to action, but this local installment is largely grounded in a youth led effort aimed at centering the struggle of young people of color. The primary vision for this event, including the theme and destination of the march, was developed by students from the Village Leadership Academy, and has been supported by The Chicago Light Brigade, We Charge Genocide, BYP 100, and other allied community organizations.

“When we’re talking about police violence, we’re talking about young people of color,” says organizer Page May. “We asked the Village Leadership Academy students to join us because we were hoping they could help us understand how to organize an event that would be safe and welcoming for younger students. They wound up bringing much more than that to the table. They have the radical, bold vision and analysis we needed for this march. In the span of one meeting, they became the heart, voice, and center of our efforts.”

This youth led coalition’s original plan was to stage a small action in December, but the VLA students soon developed a larger vision. Upon hearing about the national call, Kaleb Autman, a twelve year old student at VLA, and one of the event’s organizers felt strongly about the idea of reclaiming Martin Luther King’s legacy. “The government made this ploy holiday as a pacifier,” says Autman. “This is 2015 and black and brown lives still don’t matter to them.”

While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday will be officially recognized on the 19th, the youth organizers of this event felt strongly about staging their action on MLK’s actual birthday. “If we want to reclaim his legacy, we need to take it back from the people who sanitized it in the first place,” says organizer Babur Balos.

Speakers at the event will include VLA students, poet Malcolm London, We Charge Genocide organizer Page May, CPD torture survivor Mark Clements, performers Jasmine Barber and David Ellis, and Mariame Kaba.

Organized by a coalition of activists from the following organizations:

Village Leadership Academy

BYP 100

We Charge Genocide

Chicago Light Brigade

Palestinian Youth Collective of Chicago

Facebook Event:

Source: The Chicago Light Brigade