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Social Justice

Eugene MLK Day March Focuses On Youth Involvement

Melorie Begay/KLCC News
A young girl holds a sign while marching during Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In Eugene, over 300 hundred marchers came out to honor the legacy of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. this morning.  The event centered on youth and the responsibility to carry on Dr. King’s teachings.

“Young people here are gonna be the creators the inventors the ones with the vision to bring us to a new and prosperous future, right," said Eric Richardson, the president of the Eugene-Springfield NAACP. He spoke before the march.

Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News
University of Oregon college students Jourdan Cerillo, Noah Kulala and Mercedes Wright at Eugene's MLK March.

Youth empowerment was a key talking point. University of Oregon student Jourdan Cerillo, says the work for equal rights is never done and it’s crucial to recognize what MLK stood for.

“He was probably never going to foresee his vision and his dream and it’s important for us as the next generation to continue it and hopefully one day reach that dream of his," Cerillo said.

She's a member of Black Christian Ministries on campus. She said people forget that MLK day is about more than King’s birthday, it’s about fighting for equal rights. 

Ibrahim Coulibaly, the Eugene-Springfield NAACP vice-president said today was a good day to reflect on King’s legacy. He brought along his 4-year-old daughter Aria.

Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News
Ibrahim Coulibably and his daughter Aria pose for a picture outside the Shedd Institute. Coulibably, the Eugene-Springfield NAACP vice president, says he wants to see more youth involvement in Eugene.

“We are encouraging our youth to be more involved, to step up into leadership positions, to also get to know who they are, where they’re coming from because that’s what will determine how strong they will be tomorrow," he said. 

Coulibaly said Eugene has a small black population and that this march was aimed at inspiring them. 

While the march focused on youth, conversations also included better media representation, police-community relations, and environmental justice. 

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