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Students Describe What King's Legacy Means To Them


The vast majority of Americans were not yet born on the day Martin Luther King was killed in 1968. Most of us know him through history, not memory. And this morning, we're going to listen to what some young people know and also how they think King relates to their lives today. They are students in middle and high school.

MIRANDA: My name is Miranda Quinonez, and I'm in seventh grade in Los Angeles. I am Latina. If it wasn't for Dr. King's speech, I would have been in a different school just for my race. I want to be a teacher when I get older, and I would teach my students that Dr. King was a good man and that he gave up his own life just so other people can be together.

YOSHOUA: My name is Yoshoua Bartlett. I'm in eighth grade here at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Number 9. I am from Rochester, New York. I feel that progress is being made, but Dr. King's dream is still not yet fulfilled. In my community, schools are pretty segregated.

ROSANNY: My name is this Rosanny Espinol. I'm in 11th grade, and I'm from Camden, New Jersey. I think Dr. King's dream has been fulfilled. We're not segregated anymore.

TYMIER: My name is Tymier Branch, and I'm from Camden, New Jersey. I'm an 11th-grade student. Right now, the world is segregated. Like, in high schools, there's cliques. You've got the cool kids, the smart kids, the geek kids. But how come they all just can't be one student body and just be one powerful unison? It's going to take time. It's going to take a lot of progress. But I believe that one day, we will get there to where every race will accept each race for who they are.

DONNIA: My name is Donnia Crisom. I'm currently in the 11th grade, and I go to MetEast High School. When I grow up, I want to be pediatric anesthesiologist/oncologist. With the things that have been going on in Ferguson, I know that the people are hurt, but I've also heard about their protests being very violent and how they burned down businesses. And they're kind of hurting their own city. So I feel that Dr. King was about positive protest, and that's not what they're showing. And I think that, as people, we should come together and do positive acts.

DARIAN: My name is Darian Pinder. I'm a sophomore at McCluer South Berkeley School in Ferguson, Missouri. I am a dishwasher. I aspire to be a neurosurgeon. Dr. Martin Luther King's dream means to me that equality is something that is very important, especially seeing the reactions of what was going on in Ferguson. It should've been a healing process for everyone and every race coming out and actually standing up and telling everyone that it's time for all this chaos and all of this friction to come to a halt. I see me actually bringing Dr. King's dream alive by taking each and every event that is brought upon me and learning from it, not holding it against me or blaming that for what I am today.

INSKEEP: Darian Pinder of Ferguson, Missouri. We also heard Miranda Quinonez, Yoshoua Bartlett, Rosanny Espinol and Tymier Branch. Our colleagues from NPR's Code Switch team got on the phone with those students and at the end of one conversation, Darian Pinder of Ferguson turned the question around.

DARIAN: I actually did have one question for you. What do you actually feel needs to be done for Dr. King's dream to be implemented today?

INSKEEP: So that's the question on the table. Offer your own answers by tweeting us @MorningEdition.

This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.