WASHINGTON – Washington Wizards forward Al Harrington headlined a panel of speakers Monday afternoon at Verizon Center to talk with young people about Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the day of service to honor his legacy.
“I’m just thankful for Dr. King and Rosa Parks and for all the people who came before us that made the sacrifice for us to have equal rights,” Harrington says.
“If it wasn’t for them, who knows where we would be.”
He was joined by broadcaster Christy Winters Scott, D.C. teacher Julia King, former Wizards player Tony Massenburg, Washington Mystics assistant coach Eric Thibault and Dr. Marcee White with the Children’s National Medical Center to speak to the more than 40 kids during the interactive panel discussion.
Jacuiq Nagle says she, 16, wants to be a teacher and a basketball coach when she grows up. She cites King’s leadership qualities as inspiration.
“I’ve really be interested in helping people to be able to be as successful a person as they can be,” says the 11th grader.
Massenberg spoke to the group about the sacrifices made by civil rights leaders, in particular King, to improve American society.
“None of us would be here, black or white, in this setting because what he was about was equality and fairness for everybody,” he says.
Winters Scott led the panel, and while she talked about King Jr.’s lesson of staying true to ones character, she was given a lesson, herself, from her 10-year- old daughter Brianna.
“She said, ‘Mommy, since it’s Martin Luther King day, you should wear black and white and a red necklace, because both kinds of people have the same blood’,” Winters Scott says.
The panel discussion was one of a number of events to commemorate the day.
Capitals, Mystics and Wizards fans also joined former players and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray at West Education Campus in Northwest D.C. to paint murals and benches and organize the library.