India Cooper of James Bickley Elementary School finished first in the Clovis Martin Luther King Jr. elementary school poster contest, sponsored by organizers of the city’s annual observance. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
The essays below were the winning entries in an essay contest sponsored by organizers of the 15th annual Clovis Community-Wide Observance of the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
First place: High School
By Michelle Coyle
Clovis High School junior
Sure we all remember Martin Luther King Jr. We all remember what he did and how he contributed to the Civil Rights Acts. We remember his unforgettable “I Have a Dream” speech and how much he dramatically changed the lives of so many African-Americans in the nation for the rest of time. We remember these things so well; how could we possibly forget them? But have some of us really forgotten? Have we forgotten how different things would be if it weren’t for Martin Luther King Jr. and his bravery to stand up for what he believed in? Have we forgotten how to appreciate all that he has done to impact the way we live today?
We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day every year on the same day. But how exactly do we celebrate? Do we celebrate in memory of the great works of Martin Luther King Jr.? Well, for some of us, it’s a celebration because we get a day off of work or a day off of school. Which is obviously not the real reason we should be celebrating.
We should be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day on, not a day off. We should accept and take advantage of this day as a day to remember the struggles of the African-Americans. A day to celebrate that Americans no longer have to live in a segregated kind of lifestyle. A day to celebrate that we can all accept each other as we are, and not judge each other because of what color our skin is. And use this day as a day to act upon the racial issues that are still among some Americans.
Though prejudice is not as bad as it was in the days of Martin Luther King Jr., it is still among us. As Americans, we should act on these issues in order to get rid of prejudice all together.
There are still so many things that go back to racism. We have racist jokes that are being told in not only high schools and junior highs, but in elementary schools too. This is because we still have so many people holding onto racial prejudices and are passing them down to newer generations. This comes from adults that cannot let go of their own racial prejudices, and they teach their children to be the same way.
There are still so many people out there, such as parents, that carry on these prejudices. Parents that don’t let their children date out of their own race, because they just cannot accept anything else but their own race. Why don’t people accept other people? It’s not because of the character they withhold, or the morals they have, or the good they can bring to the world, but they won’t accept them, simply because of the color of their skin.
With these issues still amongst some Americans, we need to get out and act. We need to do what we can to do our part. Even if it means changing only one person’s perspective at a time, it’s a mission that needs to be accomplished. We need to remember all that African-Americans went through for the sake of future generations. We need to celebrate that there were courageous people like Martin Luther King Jr. and that we no longer have to live in segregation. And we need to act to change those little things that still affect the lives of Americans everyday. The most important thing that we need to remember about Martin Luther King Jr. Day is that it’s a day on, not a day off.
First Place: Junior high
Gattis Junior High ninth-grader
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a remarkable man.
On Monday, we should be going out to recognize him and give him the moment that he deserves, his moment to shine. Let him know we still appreciate him. Let him know we still love and remember what he did for us. He helped us get our freedom.
We should get out and show our appreciation.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was there for us. Now, it is our chance to return the favor.
He had a family. His children do not want the memories of their father to vanish. We can help with that, can’t we?
Now imagine someone doing something extravagant for our country. Wouldn’t they want to be remembered?
In my eyes, not enough people get out there to help us recognize this wonderful man.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deserves all the love and thanks we could give him. Has he not earned that right? I think he has. Let’s show it by getting out to remember his works.
I’m sure his kids would love to see thousands more out there remembering their father. Their father did not care about the color of a person’s skin. He did not care if the person was the prettiest, ugliest, or the smartest person in the world. All he cared about was that they were treated equally.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had an enormous heart filled with love. He wanted to help everyone, and his dream was big enough to include the whole world. No matter what color you are, it’s our chance to let our hearts include him. To Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. everyone was the same. He did not care if a person had never seen him in their life. He still made that person part of his life, part of his dream. Now it’s your chance to make him part of your life. He may not be here with us today, but we can still make his dream come true if we all help. Monday, get out there and remember him and what he did for his family and the rest of the world.
First Place: Elementary
By Alexandria Mercedes Smith
Barry Elementary School fifth-grader
Martin Luther King Jr. fought for freedom.
He had a vision that African-Americans and Caucasians could live together in harmony and not be separated from each other.
That was not his only goal.
He wanted everyone to be treated equally no matter the color of his or her skin. He recited a speech to America, and made a big difference in our lives.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at a motel in Tennessee and was killed because of his beliefs.
He sacrificed his life for everyone to live in harmony and love and not full of hatred.
When this day comes in January, Americans should remember what he did to make our world a better place and celebrate his great achievements. We, as Americans, should take what he started and keep it going until every person in this world is treated with kindness and respect. We are all equal no matter where we live, how we dress, where we work, or whom we love.
Martin Luther King Jr. knew this was important enough to fight for freedom.
9 a.m. — Breakfast, Clovis High cafeteria.
10 a.m. — Commemorative March, starts on the ENMU campus, Portales
6 p.m. — Youth lock-in, Portales Recreation Center.
2 p.m. — “Time to Pray,” ENMU campus
9 a.m. — Commemorative March, starts at the High Plains Federal Credit Union parking lot on South Main Street in Clovis.
10 a.m. to noon — MLK Jr. program, Memorial Building in Portales.