Summit encourages Anchorage youth to live their dreams in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 6:59 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At the Spenard Community Recreation Center on Monday, area children in first through 12th grade were invited to hear guest speakers encourage them to live their dreams. It was an event to commemorate the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson spoke of a handful of quotes by King that taught lessons, including one from an October 1964 speech in which he said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Bronson explained to the children in attendance that although King was arrested almost 20 times, assaulted at least four times, and that his house had been bombed, he did the right thing and didn’t hate anyone.

The city’s chief equity officer, Uluao J. “Junior” Aumavae inspired the kids with his story of growing up in Anchorage and how lessons from mentors to listen with his eyes and ears helped him live his own dream by becoming a professional football player in the NFL. Aumavae also told them that an attitude of getting 1% better each day can help them achieve their goals.

“Whether it become a better family member, a better student, a better professional — whatever it is, it comes down to you and your attitude, and one day you will be like Martin Luther King Jr.,” Aumavae said. “You’ll be a light for others to see and follow. You can be that light, that love that everybody’s looking for in this community and you can come back here to Anchorage our hometown to do the same for kids like you to be able to achieve their goals.”

Local entrepreneur Jasmin Smith said there are three things to become what they want to be in life. Number one, she said, is to have a goal.

“Having a goal and a dream in mind is good, and it’s never too early to start thinking about what you wanna do,” she said.

Number two, Smith explained, is that it’s okay if that goal changes, saying that “sometimes you got to practice and kind of go around and try new things to find out what you’re interested in.”

And number three, she suggested, is to find a mentor who works in the field of interest.

The Anchorage Chief Human Resources Officer Niki Tshibaka told the inspiring true story of a young man from the Democratic Republic of Congo who was one of seven students in his country to be awarded a scholarship to study in the United States. He credited King for the opportunity for the student to study in the U.S. Tshibaka then revealed the student was his own father who told him to, “never, ever, ever take your opportunities for granted. If you wanna make something of yourself, you have to work for it.”

The event wasn’t all sit and listen. The kids were also to able to do some related activities in the gym and work off some energy by playing basketball, football and floor hockey.

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