After the Martin Luther King Jr. parade in South Miami, 6-year-old ThaLia Richardson had some tough competition for customers at the Gibson-Bethel Community Center.
While five colorful inflatable bouncers stole the attention of dozens of children, and songs like Cha Cha Slide, Wobble and Cuban Shuffle had a few people dancing, little ThaLia was hard at work. She stood in front of a white tent shouting, lemonade, come get your lemonade!
Jan. 19 was the second MLK parade after-party in which the Ludlam Elementary student has set up her lemonade tent. This year, her mom, Renesa Collier, recruited family and friends to help her. And at $2 a cup in a crowd of about 200 people, Collier said, ThaLia made about $150 this year.
We call ThaLia Little Mama, because she is the boss, family friend Gabriel Gamer said. We are all her employees. Its a different world now. Girls like ThaLia can grow up to do great things. She is going to be an entrepreneur.
A few tents away, Lisa Sweeting was buying her 12-year-old daughter Gianna a T-shirt with images of President Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr for $12 to help inspire her.
Its important for us to expose our children to these events, said Sweeting, 49. I remember when my parents used to take me to the parade in Liberty City. I would look forward to it.
Shavarria Capers, 13, of Arvida Middle School in Kendall, said that the event was a great party and not a history lesson. She didnt know that Martin Luther King Jr. was part of the 1950s and 60s civil-rights movement that opposed segregation. She thought he was involved in abolishing slavery which happened way before his time when the thirteenth amendment passed a century earlier.
Martin Luther King fought for us, Shavarria said. She didnt know that he was a pacifist.
Minutes later, two little girls from South Miami Middle pulled each others hair near the park. Two police officers tried to persuade them to hug, but the girls refused. Other students said they were mad at each other over a boy.
Shavarrias brother, third-grader Amariam Cofield, of Gloria Floyd Elementary School in Kendall, said he got most of his history lessons from his grandmother, who has told them stories about what life was like when blacks and whites lived separately.
It was a bad time for my grandma, Amariam said. Its not like that any more. Most people here [at the party ] are black but I have white friends at school and I dont know a racist.
For 9-year-old Sania Powell, a student at Abundant Life Christian Learning in West Little River, the party was mostly about the food.
I dont really know about him [Martin Luther King]; we havent learned that at school yet, Sania said. There is cookies, conch fritter, fries, fried chicken and ribs lots of ribs. I have been coming since I was little and people have a good time.