ECHO Center events honor MLK Day

Published: Jan. 20, 2020 at 4:04 PM EST
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Vermont honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday with a full day of events at the ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. Our Kiernan Brisson spoke to students, and other attendees about what the day means to them.

"The day just really starts off with the beginning focused on family, and young people," said Phet Keomanyvanh with the Burlington Community Economic Development Office, the organizer of the event.

Attendees got to learn about MLK's legacy in the Civil Rights movement and racial disparities in Vermont's history.

"He was a civil rights leader, he stood for interracial, I mean -- like justice for all people of color," said Mica Thomas, a student at the Integrated Arts Academy.

The Clemmons family farm was one of the first and remains one of the only African-American owned farms in Vermont. Today, it's much more than a farm and offers opportunities for visitors to learn and celebrate the history and culture of African Americans, as well as Africans that were taken from their homelands.

"We have three topics in reference to the Civil Rights movement, and civil rights, and equality in Vermont -- they're Vermont specific topics," said the farm's Kenroy Walker.

He says he looks forward to this event and the educational atmosphere at the aquarium. "It's just so open, it's so inviting and it helps get a good central point where anyone can come in and engage," Walker said.

Students we spoke with already had a good grasp on the impact that Dr. King had on our country.

"I think it's really important to have that because then a lot of things wouldn't be the same, and a lot of people wouldn't be able to go to the same school and make friends," Thomas said.

As the day continued, there were more adult-centered topics, Including a panel discussion on civil rights in current times.