Texas Connects Us: Arlington MLK Step Show

Arlington is wrapping up four days of events celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s legacy.

Last weekend, the MLK Celebration Committee hosted a step show.

Stepping is a style of performance made popular by historically black fraternities and sororities.

“It’s basically making rhythms with your body,” said Anjulie Morehead, a James Bowie High School step competitor. “I started stepping when I was four, and so you kind of grow up learning how to be confident and how to carry yourself and just have fun.”

James Bowie High School is one of 13 Arlington schools competing in the Advancing the Dream Step Show.

Anderson Elementary student Brianna Gordon explained what crowds are like when she and her team perform.

“I would say they’re pretty excited whenever we do our steps, because they’re all like ‘wahooo!’” Gordon said with a smile.

Gordon said she’s been stepping for two years alongside her Anderson Elementary classmates.

“They’re like sisters to me, they’re family,” said fellow Anderson Elementary stepper Jimena Munoz, 12. “I thank God that He gave me life to keep doing this, because I love this! This is my life.”

“In the beginning, it’s very very nerve racking,” said Chelsea Stanley.

Stanley helps coach the ladies from Bowie High School.

She said once you start performing, “you get a rush of energy to where 'I know I can do this, I’m going to give it my all,' and any problems – or anything that’s going on – we leave it on the stage.”

Using their bodies as instruments, each team relays a message that reflects Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” said one team.

A crowd favorite is the young men from Arlington Lamar High School.

“This is our house!” yelled Kamron Speed from the stage during Lamar’s performance.

“Just performing, you know, getting hyped before shows and then knowing that what we’re about to present is a message that can change the world,” Speed said.

His twin brother, Kenyatta Speed, is also on the Lamar step team with him.

He explained what it’s like performing with his brother.

“Family, man, this guy right here, man, I love this guy!” Kenyatta said with a laugh.

Stepping has taken the brothers all over the country.

“Ah man, I could say I feel blessed. This opportunity right here — I’m going to take it and I’m going to go with it,” Kenyatta said.

Using the art and the sport of stepping, these students work to continue Dr. King’s legacy and repeat his calls for change.

“But if our views don’t change, neither will we,” yelled a Lamar student from the stage.

“If Dr. King was still alive, he would very very [much] appreciate this,” said Stanley.

Organizers said they hope the Advancing the Dream Step Show helps students reflect on Dr. King’s dream.

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