CALLICOON, NY — Janus Adams is now an Emmy-award winning journalist, author, entrepreneur and radio host. But she was once a nervous little girl standing in front of the most prolific American …
CALLICOON, NY — Janus Adams is now an Emmy-award winning journalist, author, entrepreneur and radio host. But she was once a nervous little girl standing in front of the most prolific American civil rights activist of all time.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked 10-year-old Adams how she was contributing to the movement. She told him she was one of four children integrating in formerly all-White public schools following the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Dr. King told Adams that was important and to keep on. More than 50 years later, she still felt spurred on by his words, addressing the hefty crowd in Callicoon’s park with her own advice.
“What do we tell our children? My answer is we tell them the truth,” she said. “We don’t need another generation being lied to. Dr. King didn’t lie to me—Dr. King died for me. America lied to me.”
The speakers in Callicoon, which included siblings Zariina and Hanrii Padu, organizer Tracy Broyles, Adams and River Reporter writer Z.A. Kohloa, addressed the crowd with impassioned sentiments, personal experiences and calls to action. Zariina Padu held her phone up to the mic to play a video of her friend Derrick Clarke, a Sullivan West graduate who died in 2014, reading a slam poem about racial inequity.
Kohloa, who will be writing an in-depth perspective on the event for RR in the coming days, prepared a poem to read for the event but didn’t make it to the end before abandoning what she’d written and speaking from the heart.
“Every life does matter. But you have to take a stance sooner or later,” she said. “I’m tired of people telling me who I am, who I’m supposed to be, and what the hell color my skin is… we all have a right to be here.”