Transforming the 44th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination
“A 10 year old; his father shot, wondering what was going to happen to him… And my mother lost her husband. And my brother and sister lost their father too.” Martin Luther King III shared these heart-wrenching words on the anniversary of his father’s death, during April 4th Revisited: Saving Lives, Building Dreams!, an event at the Carter Center in Atlanta, hosted by Prevention Institute’s UNITY initiative and The Martin Luther King III Institute for Social Justice and Human Rights.
During their performance, the Atlanta Youth Ensemble described the need for change, through song: “We tiptoe around every issue, around the fact that what we really need is revolution. Who wants to be a hero if a hero is a martyr? There’s a war going on. Fear is a weapon; you better watch your back.” Yet, the performers' grace, talent, energy and poise transformed the message--filling the audience with joy, hope and renewed dedication to create a safer, more supportive environment for upcoming generations. For more images of the event, visit Prevention Institute’s Facebook page.
Held on what has traditionally been a day of mourning, April 4th Revisited: Saving Lives, Building Dreams! launched the Community Peace & Thriving Youth joint initiative, a partnership of The King Institute and UNITY to advance Dr. King’s vision of peace and to build on the public health approach to preventing violence. Instead of simply reacting to violence after the fact, this approach focuses on the root causes of violence and on expanding opportunity to young people. The next stage of this initiative is Urban Summer: Saving Lives, Building Dreams. Young people are particularly vulnerable during summer months, and Urban Summer 2012 will provide young people with opportunities related to job readiness, the arts and physical activity programs.
As former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, life-long friend and top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement, reflected during Wednesday's event:
The whole system has to be analyzed and challenged. We were very deliberate in our planning and actions. It is serious study, it is serious lifetime commitment to make this happen. And the success of our efforts - it didn’t stop - it went to South Africa; the Berlin Wall came down.
Prevention Institute is honored to work with the King Institute to make this vision a reality, and we look forward to building momentum for non-violence and to engaging young people and their communities in the years to come.