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Sons, daughters of Little Rock 9 speak about having civil rights figures for parents

A day before the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School, the sons and daughters of the Little Rock 9 spoke during a panel discussion at the Ron Robinson Theater (Photo: KATV).

The day before commemorating the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School, the children of the Little Rock 9 spent part of Sunday afternoon reflecting on being raised by civil rights figures.

Minnijean Brown Trickey says the discussion was the first of its kind, and it was very emotional for her to sit through.

“We do need to hear from them,” said Trickey. “They’ve been tasked with a burden, and it’s great to hear them talk about it.

"I'm always in tears when this topic is discussed," said Ellen, daughter of Gloria Ray.

During the panel discussion in the Ron Robinson Theater, the first question was a hot topic: how do they feel about professional athletes "taking a knee" during the national anthem?

"You're seeing people decide how they would like to be remembered in black and white images one day,” said Mackenzie Green, the daughter of Ernest Green. “And I hope that our voices, our part of the next generation, our taking a knee, our linking arms with our comrades will allow us to be on the right side of the comment."

Another question, when did they realized the historical significance of their parents walking through the doors of Little Rock Central High School in 1957?

"She got the Congressional Medal of Honor and then we met the President,” said Matthew Pattillo, son of Dr. Melba Pattillo. “Then, I realized, not everyone gets to meet the President."

"I am in an American history class, learning about nine people who I call auntie and uncle, that are family," said Mackenzie Green.

"In high school, my dad was on Good Morning America with Orval Faubus, and I think I was a freshman in high school.” said Becky Goodloe, daughter of Dr. Terrence J. Roberts. “And watching that was probably the first time I really realized what happened."

Then, a turn in the program. The Little Rock 9 got to ask the questions. The question getting an audible response from the crowd, would they allow their children to participate in what happened 60 years ago?

"If we had this history, no,” said Whitney LaNier. “I don't know that I'm that strong to watch my daughter go through that. "

Before the commemoration events started last week, Channel 7 talked with Judge Wendell Griffen, who feels progress has not been made in the Little Rock School District.

Trickey responded.

"It's not a feeling, it's a fact,” said Trickey. “America is more segregated in 2017 than it was in 1957, and that's by choice.”

Trickey said you fix the lack of progress with action.

“You can’t roll over,” said Trickey. “You can't not vote, you can’t not go to city council meetings, school board meetings. You cannot rest. It is not possible to lie down. It’s too exciting! There’s so much cool stuff that we could be doing to make this a better world.

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