Learning from MLK

Henry Weiman ’21, News Writer

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     On Thursday, January 24th, nine days after the historic civil rights leader’s birthday, the Wilmington Friends Upper School celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with student-led workshops that focused on peace and inclusion. Martin Luther King, Jr., known for his political activism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, was honored here at Friends once again, a few days after the holiday bearing his name. By creating and participating in workshops that focus on peace, inclusion, understanding, and political action, we hold this American hero in the light.

     Workshops, set to take place in the afternoon, were preceded by a speech delivered by Stephanie Hoops, the mother of an alumna with a large role in the organization The Alice Project. This organization seeks to show the true levels of poverty in the United States, beyond the outdated federal methods and income brackets that determine food stamps and financial aid today. Presenting before the whole Upper School student body, Stephanie Hoops showed us how inaccurate current government measurements are, and the truly horrific numbers of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck. Despite this grim reality, Hoops left us with a message of hope, as awareness of the true pervasiveness of poverty is increasing, and much more is being done to address it and combat it. As we prepared to honor King’s many teachings, it was important to remember that there is still much to accomplish and work towards.

     After lunch, students jumped right into their workshop activities. Workshops were held all around the school, and activities ranged from watching informational videos to running role play scenarios to writing letters to Congress. As the sixteen workshops came to an end, the upper school gathered together in a Quaker Meeting for Worship to reflect on the day, to consider the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and how to pass his ideas for equality, understanding, and peace harmony forward.

     As we review year’s MLK celebration, the Upper School will file away this year’s day of honest reflection, of looking both backward and forwards, as a success. Estelle Hegenbarth ‘21 said that the day was “a good balance of education and meaningful learning and conversation. I learned a lot from Ms. Hoops’ presentation.” Casey Tyler ‘20, who led a workshop as a part of WFS for Our Lives, also provided positive feedback. “I feel like we were able to really get our message across,” he revealed.

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