NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville will join communities across the country in honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day of events.

Leaders with Metro Nashville Public Schools are working to ensure students are at the center of commemorating one of the nation’s most prominent Civil Rights leaders.

“Many of our students that are on the MLK committee attend Hume Fogg, Glencliff, Hillsboro high schools and they are bringing up these thoughts and ideas about Dr. King in real life situations,” said MNPS Chief Diversity Officer Ashford Hughes. “We do know the challenge in some of our younger grades making certain that we, you know, abide by the state policies. But we also know that we can trickle in many of the thoughts and ideas that Dr. King expounds around being good people, being good neighbors.”

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A youth book drive will be held Monday, Jan. 16 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church. Books that are new or in good used condition are being collected for middle and high school aged students focused on diversity and equity or the legacy of Dr. King. There’s a youth rally from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then the annual MLK Day march begins at 9 a.m. and goes from Jefferson Street to TSU Gentry Center.

“It’s important that they understand what does justice look like for them. How do we create the critical consciousness in them throughout their learning where they see themselves not only as academic scholars, but as people contributing to their community?” said Hughes. “That is how we have orchestrated our partnership with the MLK Day committee, not only during this time of year, but working with the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship in the work that we do with them partnering in community.”

The MLK Day march and convocation have been organized by the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship since 1989. The convocation begins at 10 a.m. at the TSU Gentry Complex with keynote speaker Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. He’ll be discussing this year’s theme titled “Protecting the Dream: Confronting the Assaults.”

Hughes explained that educators remain committed to helping to share Dr. King’s legacy, not just for the students of today, but for the community’s residents of the future.

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“Wanted to understand how this intersectionality between education, the society that moves around us, and how we do have a vested interest in not only educating kids, but creating quality citizens,” said Hughes. “We are in the process of creating quality citizens who will grow to be your neighbor, my neighbor, and we want to make certain that they have character. Dr. King spoke about education alone without creating a sense of character in our young people is no education at all.”