Toledo event to showcase youth efforts to expand civil rights, protect communities

The free community event is being held on March 25 at 3 p.m. at the Monroe Street Church.
The free community event is being held on March 25 at 3 p.m. at the Monroe Street Church.(WVVA)
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 12:06 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The fifth annual Our Time to Break Silence event is scheduled to take place this weekend.

The free community event is being held on March 25 at 3 p.m. at the Monroe Street Church located at 3613 Monroe St. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. All are invited to either attend the event in person or online via a livestream on the Monroe Street Church Toledo Ohio YouTube channel.

Organizers say this event is a community reading of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “A Time to Break Silence” and will feature Toledo’s children and youth sharing spoken word poetry, songs and visual art on this year’s theme, Youth Breaking the Silence.

MLK’s “A Time to Break Silence” motivated the American public across lines that had formerly divided groups. Organizers say this annual event in Toledo is intended to bring together representatives from approximately 30 area organizations and over 150 students who are working to maintain and expand civil rights and to protect the well-being of our communities.

“Events like Break Silence are so important because we want our students to know that we want to hear their voices and their concerns and celebrate them for using their talent to advocate for what they believe in,” said Dr. Amerah Archer, Acting Executive Director of the Department of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Toledo Public Schools.

According to organizers, among the students performing poetic and musical numbers will be fifth graders from TPS’ Escuela SMART Academy who will recite a poem their class composed titled “The Way We See It.”

Also being showcased at the event will be sculptures by Westfield High School students that include QR codes that take the viewer to the students’ own descriptions of the silences they are breaking.

“It can be hard for teenagers to speak their truth,” said Peggy Martinez, a teacher at Westfield High School. “I facilitate a space in the art room for my students to use art as a way to say the things they can’t, or don’t want to say.”

Organizers hope that this event will fulfill their mission, which is “to inform and educate young people about Dr. King’s important impact, and to build the movement to break silence, promote dialogue and engage in nonviolent direct action.”

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