Canyon Ridge High School senior Riyahna Weathersby one first place in the High Desert Black Heritage Committee's Martin Luther King, Jr. 2008 Art, Essay and Poetry Contest. Weathersby was honored at a reception at Victor Valley College on Thursday, January 17. This was Weathersby's winning essay:
We all know of the man who had a dream. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Martin Luther King, Jr. Even though his road to abolish segregation and racism was cut short due to his assassination, his legacy still lives on in some African Americans today. There are some things Martin Luther King, Jr. would be proud of, but there are also some things he would be ashamed of.

On January 15, 1929, was born a boy who would later become one of the most famous African American civil rights activists the world would ever know. Despite his childhood and growing up in racist cities, Martin always knew one day things would get better and Caucasians and African Americans could live in harmony. Growing up in the 1930s and 1940s must have been very hard, I imagine. Having separate water fountains, bathrooms, restaurants, and neighborhoods, for that matter, are just some of the things that were segregated. Colored signs were hung on the nastiest water fountains and bathrooms. It was even out of the question for colored folks to go to the same schools as whites, let alone to get the same education. They colored schools were left with raggedy, ripped, torn down school books, if they got that. There was bound to be someone to speak out about these horrible living conditions.

Then came Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who spoke publicly about his plans for the future. It's a shame that right when millions and millions of people started to listen and side with Martin and his beliefs, he was assassinated. Luckily there are many other people and groups who also believed in these things and kept Martin's legacy going.

People like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers are a few examples of blacks who saw the need for change and did something about it. African Americans have accomplished a lot since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.

We Blacks now have jobs with equal pay, nice homes, voting rights, and especially our dignity. But most of all, we have grown mentally. We have done our best not to hold slavery and things of the past against our fellow Americans. If Martin were here, I think he would be very proud of what this country has become. However, there are things Martin would not be too proud of.

We have black girls in the videos half naked, shaking their bodies on camera, supporting promiscuity. Another thing he would be ashamed of is all the name calling and drug use. Not all of us are using drugs but some aregag [sic] selling them on the corner. We have young girls at the ages of 14 and 15 having children.

We, as Americans, have to come together to keep Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy alive. Black or white, big or small, don't be shy! We are all Americans, and we would not have made it this far without supporting each other. So come together and let your thoughts and opinions be known. You'll never know, maybe you will be the next Martin Luther King, Jr.