Growing up with a white mother and a black father, Faith McKesson spent most of her days trying to figure out where exactly she belongs. She says it was a challenge trying to figure out her identity, but she eventually learned to trust the people who were guiding her in the right direction.
“It was such a great segway into my personal journey and self discovery and seeing myself as a strong black woman who can embrace both sides of her cultural heritage and not have to pick sides,” McKesson said.
On Saturday, Jan. 19, the Clovis High School senior was one of three students who spoke at the Annual Community Breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In front of a large crowd at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District, McKesson echoed Dr. King’s message of love and equality.
“I want to shine light on black issues and black people and that we are here and we are vocal,” McKesson said. “If you will give us a platform, we will gratefully take it and say what we need to say.”
Buchanan High School student Abbi Akande and Clovis North freshman Trisha Prajapati were the other two students who delivered a speech at the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast.
Prajapati said it was nerve wracking to speak in front of the large crowd, but it was an honor to spread wisdom.
“My parents always taught me nonviolence because we follow Gandhi as well,” Prajapati said. “And I learned from my teachers to treat everybody the way you want to be treated, the simple rules make a big impact on everybody.”
Akande said it’s important to have student speakers because they can provide a different perspective.
“I feel really hopeful and excited,” Akande said. “I know there’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s good to know that there are so many people willing to do that work.”
The annual event brought together a diverse group of people, including community leaders from Fresno and Clovis, the Clovis Police Department, the Fresno Police Department, educators from around the Central Valley, as well as the Bach Children’s Choir.
“This program is about celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King and his vision for change,” Erin Ford-Horio, Clovis Police Department, said. “It’s a really great opportunity to involve the community, get the kids involved and really look at how we can make our now better, but also our future.”