Students unsatisfied with MLK Day commemoration

Community feels need to spread King’s message, not ignore it

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Students unsatisfied with MLK Day commemoration

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream for everyone to come together and be looked upon as equals. MLK’s dream is still important to members of the community who believe it’s up to them to take action.

On MLK Day, some students expected discussions in their classes. However, the day was barely recognized.

Senior member of Students voices in Equity Anahi Toolabian is one of the disappointed students.

“Each of our classes should integrate our learning for MLK Day to see how it affects each of us. NT needs to put more emphasis on this national holiday.”

Similarly, Security Guard and Sponsor of African American Club Johnyell M. Owens believes MLK and seminar day should always be encouraged because the world around us is diverse.

“Being African American, MLK Day to me means fighting for what’s right. MLK sacrificed his life to make the world a better place. He is the ultimate pioneer in my community. MLK is a day of reflection, and we are all one race. We are the human race,” said Owens.

Junior member of African American club, Xariah Chase, who read a speech during morning announcements, believes there’s no excuse for why NT couldn’t do a better job commemorating the day.

“It’s really sad that we couldn’t have a seminar day. We should try to aim for an annual seminar day even if we don’t have a guest speaker. If we don’t have these days, it allows people to live their life unaware of their surroundings. We need to realize that if we want a change, everyone plays a role, not just African Americans.”

Chase expressed the hardships of being a minority on the north shore: “It’s hard to be in a community when you are a minority. Not many people here are willing to make a change with you because they are unaware. I want to take action, but it’s difficult to be on your own,” said Chase.

However, while it seemed like there wasn’t much emphasis on MLK Day, Student Alliance created a slideshow on TV screens throughout the school. Junior SA members Isabel Magnum and Laura Meltzer spearheaded this project. The slideshow consisted of thirty four slides which included a slide for activists that were inspired by MLK’s legacy.

SA President Bill Yen said, “SA is planning on ways to make up for the lack of awareness regarding MLK Day. But we have to remember, MLK Day was smack in the middle of final’s week, so it was difficult for us to do anything that involves teachers and administration.

That’s why we were limited to slideshows and announcements,” said Yen.

In addition, Yen emphasized that if any student feels alone they are encouraged to reach out to groups like SA, and Student Voices in Equity.

“Students can work with these groups to come up with ideas for events like MLK Day before the actual event. We can always use more student support since SA is only about twenty students. We will do our very best to help the students in our school,” said Yen.

Principal Denise Dubravec and the administration realize the importance of these days and encourage them.

“We want students to value and have the opportunity to have discussions in classes, but in order for this to happen, there has to be a large amount of planning to happen, which takes one year. We plan the year in advance for the following year. Next year, we are still deciding what the theme is,” Dubravec said.

According to the administration, all ideas and opinions are welcome.

“Part of our job is to give parents the best information there is, so their children could attend these seminars. Our job is to make sure everyone is aware of the goal from the discussion,” said Dubravec.

There was controversy over the seminar day on Feb. 3, 2017 on Facebook. Parents didn’t feel comfortable having discussions with kids about politics and race and others didn’t think it was necessary because of where the school is located.

However, Toolabian believes no matter where we live, it’s important for us to recognize MLK Day with respect.

“We need to keep on reemphasizing Dr. King’s hard work on trying to spread kindness and justice for everyone whose voice deserves to be heard and taken action upon,” said Toolabian.
While Chase believes it’s easy to forget about these issues, we shouldn’t.

“In my speech, I hope everyone realized that it’s their job to fight for equality, not just people of color. It’s a community effort,” said Chase.

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