Middle School Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Assembly and Discussions
It was both a celebration of progress and a conversation about current issues that powered the Middle School's Martin Luther King Jr. Day events on Tuesday, January 22. Students and faculty gathered in Doc Wilson Hall on to commemorate the iconic leader of the American Civil Rights Movement and his legacy.
Throughout the hour-long assembly, students and faculty presented poems, songs and videos that focused on the life and work of Dr. King, the accomplishments of the American Civil Rights Movement, and current issues in American society.
Arjun Ratan ’24, who is a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Club, took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on some prominent figures of the American Civil Rights Movement who worked alongside King, including John Lewis, Bayard Rustin, Jackie Robinson and others. Robinson, for example, "was a legendary athlete,” said Ratan. “But, he also made a lot of comments and remarks about how inequality wasn’t what America stood for” and made significant contributions to the movement. Ratan said that he chose this moment to present on influential but often lesser-known leaders of the Civil Rights Movement because “they had a huge impact on the [the movement] and things like equality and freedom. They also were people that ... embodied what Masters stands for.”
After the assembly, students gathered in break-out groups to discuss questions such as “If Dr. King were alive today, what work do you think he would be doing?” and “Have you ever felt like someone was judging you based on an external characteristic, for example, race or gender, clothing, etc.? How did it make you feel?” Reflecting on these thought-provoking and sometimes difficult questions in small groups gave students the opportunity to process and have conversations about what they had heard during the assembly, as well as to focus on issues that matter to them personally.
“Ultimately,” said Tasha Elsbach, Head of Middle School, “I hope that our students are inspired to follow their dreams and to work toward causes that matter to them. King implores us to speak up for what is right.” By highlighting the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement and asking the question Dr. King asked in 1967 — where do we go from here? — the day’s events raised important questions, sparked valuable discussions, and gave students a fuller understanding of those who made an impact during this crucial time in American history.