The King Coalition, in partnership with the City of Madison, Dane County, MSCR, Madison Out of School Time (MOST), Madison Public Library, United Way of Dane County, and the Urban League of Greater Madison will be hosting its annual MLK Day Youth Call to Service on Monday, Jan. 18, for Madison-area middle and high school youth.

Due to the current global pandemic, the event will be hosted completely online.

Beginning at 1 pm until 4:30 p.m., youth will be invited to participate in a variety of workshops that both echo the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and encourage self-empowerment through activism and service.

“They learn everything about the history of activism in our country, of course about MLK and how they are the future of MLK,” said Prenicia Clifton, director of Youth Protection and Compliance and MLK Day Youth Call to Service board member.

Clifton emphasized the importance of empowering youth in regards to the recent socio-political climate.

“I think what [the] January 6th [U.S. Capitol building riot] taught us was that society does not believe that our Black bodies or Black voices or our Black lives matter,” Clifton continued. “We are not given the same kind of leeway, we are not given the same kind of visibility.”

The free event will feature four workshops: Art and Activism with comic and artist Charlene Jones; Movement and Activism with Choreographer, Dancer, and CEO of The Hitterz Collective LLC, Kobby Brewoo; Know Your Rights training presented by Freedom Inc; and a What Now? workshop presented by Prenicia Clifton and MSCR Site Coordinator and local rapper, Kenneth Cole.

Prenicia Clifton

“We knew that the youth were burnt out in virtual settings and we wanted to make sure that we create a workshop, that we’re engaging and that actually let[s] them take away a tangible product,” Clifton noted. “And so art always has a tangible product after you make it and then we have the dancing because we wanted them to get some movement in during this time, so they weren’t sitting there, stagnant.”

Participants will receive notebooks courtesy of American Family Insurance, colored pencils, a voucher for Pizza Hut, and T-shirts designed by locals artists from LessWork Lifestyle. Upon completion of the workshop, youth will also receive a certificate for their “commitment to change.”

Due to the virtual setting, all items will be mailed to participants.

“This Youth Day of Service will give the voices back to the youth and let them know that they are not alone and we will continue to fight and advocate for them as well as giving them the power to advocate for themselves,” Clifton said.

Registration is still ongoing and can be found here via The King Coalition Facebook page.