DUMAS, Ark. — The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission held their sixth non-violence youth summit of the year at Dumas High School. In light of the recent shooting that impacted a Dumas community event, they wanted to empower the youth.
"Dumas shows resilience in wanting to advocate for their community. What took place was unfortunate, but it doesn't speak to who they are as a community," said the commission's executive director, DuShun Scarbrough.
The commission brought in actress, Vivica A Fox as a keynote speaker, hoping her influence will encourage the next generation.
"I was so sad to hear about this mass shooting that happened almost two months ago. So I'm here to offer hope healing and restoration. Us as celebrities, sometimes we can bring a little bit more awareness to it. So if I can do that it's a part of my mission," Fox said.
Break out sessions included teaching young people about financial literacy, healthy living, employment, education, and community advocacy.
They also encouraged combating gun violence and bullying.
Grand Master Richard Anderson with Anderson's Taekwondo taught a "Mind Over Matters" session on anti-bullying by incorporating skits with children in his class.
"You can be anyone. You can be the best of anything, but you have to put your mind to it," Anthony told the teens.
Dumas High School Principal Jacob Lanehart encouraged Dumas middle and high school students by telling them they're not alone in feeling like violence is affecting them.
"We wanted to put this together and bring this here to make you all better people. To make Dumas, Arkansas a better place. We're so honored and welcome all of our guests who came here today," said Lanehart.
Students took a pledge for non-violence and promised to follow the six principals of non-violence:
- Non-violence is a way of life for courageous people
- Non-violence seeks to win friendship and understanding
- Non-violence seeks to defeat injustice, not people
- Non-violence holds that suffering can educate and transform
- Non-violence chooses love instead of hate
- Non-violence believes that the universe is on the side of justice
The Arkansas MLK Commission said they'll keep the momentum going with more non-violence events across the state.
Their next event will be a unity in the community in Monticello.