Hosted by the school’s African American Club, the March for Martin invited students to march while King’s words were broadcast throughout the building.
“I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
Those words are but a fraction of Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in front of more than 250,000 people during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963.
In the years since, King’s call for equal civil and economic rights for all people in the United States, regardless of race, has been heard year after year by millions upon millions of Americans.
And much like when King envisioned a day when “all of God’s children” would have the opportunity to sing with a new meaning “let freedom ring,” the entirety of King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” was ringing throughout the halls of Lenape High School this week for students to hear during the school’s annual “March for Martin” event.
Hosted once again by the Lenape High School African American Club, the March for Martin invited students and staff from student organizations across the Lenape Regional High School District to march in unity through Lenape’s halls while King’s words were broadcast throughout the building.
Just two of the many students on hand for the event were Lenape High School seniors Myía Borland and Makayla Berry, who each serve as officers in Lenape’s African American Club.
The two said the march demonstrated the need for students to come together to address issues of racial injustice that still exist in the world today.
“In the world as a whole, not everything is perfect,” Boreland said. “It [King’s speech] still applies to today.”
Berry echoed those sentiments.
“The goal of the march is to let everyone…remember why Martin Luther King Jr. gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and why it was so important and how it affects us all today, from our classrooms to outside of school,” Berry said.
In addition to the annual March for Martin event, Lenape’s African American Club, which is open to students of all racial backgrounds, holds regular meetings to share information on the African American culture and how it’s intertwined with American history.
Boreland also said the club allows minority students, such as herself, a chance to reconnect with other minority students.
“I know myself what it’s like to be the only person in the room that looks like me or wears my hair like I do or maybe has an unorthodox name — it’s just to remind everyone that you’re not by yourself, and there’s people to understand things that you might be dealing with that maybe other people can’t understand,” Boreland said.
Lenape social studies teacher Allan Tittermary, who serves as advisor for Lenape’s African American Club, said the club also provides a place where students from different economic and racial backgrounds can learn from one another.
“I always tell the kids that they’ll learn more from each other and their backgrounds than they ever will in a textbook,” Tittermary said. “It really applies to a group like this, where they are hearing from each other and their different experiences — they learn more from that than they would from an adult.”
Following the march, students gathered in the school’s cafeteria to participate in an interactive presentation to learn more about King and his role in the American Civil Rights Movement.