STUDENTS PREPARE FOR MILLION YOUTH MARCH
COMPTON—The City Council enjoyed dance, music and speech performances during its meeting on Tuesday, July 3, when 2012 Million Youth Peace March participants demonstrated their talents for the enthusiastic crowd.
Peace March State Representative Sandra Lightner said the children will compete with others, and march against teen-onteen violence, drug abuse, obesity and bullies during the event, which will be held on Saturday, July 14.
“Black children are ignorant of their history,” she said. “When they can go to Capitol Hill and see their history first hand, like how historical icons like Benjamin Banneker contributed to Washington, D.C., they grow from the experience.”
“TheymusthaveeitheraBorCaveragetogo,”shesaid. “They must also be responsible individuals in our community.”
Each performer, led by saxophone player Christian Bennett, demonstrated his or her individual skills and delighted those attending the meeting.
“This is my first trip to the youth march and I am very excited about going,” he said. “I want to march against teen violence. There is a better way for us, and it is through God’s word.”
Helping peers manage conflict improves the community, Bennett said, and his upcoming musical performance will be a testimonial to his love of music.
Preshious Margie Polk said her upcoming Million Youth performance is a gymnastics milestone that began at age six.
“It interested me from the very first day,” she said. “I want to be a professional cheerleader and being a good tumbler is a requirement.”
Polk demonstrated a flip, which impressed everyone.
“It gives me an adrenaline rush and makes me feel fantastic,” she said. “I want to leave a legacy behind for my children. Talking about community involvement proves nothing.”
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X inspired Ja Shonna Owens, and her topic at the event will focus on the differences they made during the civil rights movement.
“Dr. King had the biggest influence on me because he had a dream and expressed it to everyone,” she said. “He helped people become active. When I think about the peace march, I picture him dealing with issues that gave us a better life today.”
Brijion Johnson and Jazmine Cannon entertained the audience with an original praise dance, which involved many hours of choreography between the two.
“Our performance is our interpretation of the music,” Johnson said. “Praise dance helps us feel better and stronger in our everyday lives.”
Their dance journey, Cannon said, began three years ago.
“I pray to God after listening to a song,” she said. “The dance moves come to me through his inspiration.”
Dances can be both joyous and sad in nature.
“When I dance about Jesus giving his life for me on the cross, I expresses gratitude, and perform for his glory and honor,” Cannon said. “Someday I hope to raise money for my own studio, and teach others.”
The group will tour many sites, including the White House, Capitol Hill, the Smithsonian and Pentagon, the George Washington estate and Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial.
“Being a part of the Million Youth March makes me feel honored and blessed,” Shalawn March said. “I feel privileged to walk in the same place Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglas and many other leaders did. My mom said I can go and people donated money for this trip, so we have to thank them, as well.”
Her outstanding school achievements make her mother, Denise Norman, proud.
“Shalawn (March) finished middle school with a 3.6 grade point average,” she said. “I teach my children that leadership is crucial. I have three more children, and all of them will be part of this experience as they grow older.”