New program allows youth to take part in MLK Jr. weekend celebration

New program allows youth to take part in MLK Jr. weekend celebration

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - A weekend-long celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. included a new event at St. Rose de Lima church in Bay St. Louis. A youth program allowed younger members of the community to show how King’s legacy affects their lives.

The theme of the Martin Luther King Junior Youth Program was “If not you, then who?” It was a message that was delivered through a skit, through song and through dance. It was something youth pastor Rhonda Labat was proud to be a part of.

“When I grew up, I knew about civil rights because I was right in the midst of 1963 with the walkouts and the boycotts,” Labat said. “But these kids growing up today, they didn’t know anything about that, and I wanted them to be more aware of what was going on and how the people gave their lives and time to make a difference for them.”

For performer Blake Comeaux, being able to represent King was an amazing feeling.

“It just shows how strong of a message that man left,” Comeaux said. “How change doesn’t have to come from any, just a big person. Change starts from normal people and then it goes down for years and years to the youth and then we can continue it to our kids.”

He was happy to be able to continue King’s message of peace and inclusion.

“I think it’s great,” Comeaux said. “I mean, kids even younger than us, they can be inspired, and then the adults that raised us, the community that made us who we are see the product of all their hard work and their care.”

Leah Morris has been a life-long member at St. Rose de Lima. Now, even after she moved away, she loves to come back and see how the youth remain involved.

“It’s amazing,” Morris said. “Growing up, this church has always been very youth oriented. We’ve always done everything to cater to the youth. We have so many youth organizations so to see things that I was a part of ,and now that I’m gone to see the kids still growing and still wanting to keep those traditions alive, it keeps them in the church and doing good in the community.”

The message of the program was received and appreciated by the members in the church. A fireworks show at Martin Luther King Jr. Park followed the performance.

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