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Moorestown High School celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Assembly features student and community-led speeches.

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: Moorestown High School celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 14 with an assembly that featured speeches from students and residents.

Moorestown High School honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an assembly on Jan. 14.

“Dr. Martin Luther King has made an incredible impact on my life growing up in North Carolina, a state where segregation was the norm,” said Moorestown resident and retired William Allen Middle School teacher Barbara Gary.

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“I thoroughly appreciated Dr. King’s dream because I had some dreams of my own.”

Guest speaker and retired Moorestown High Assistant Principal Dr. Germaine Brown highlighted the civil rights contributions of Daisy Bates, Pauli Murray, Septima Clark, Dorothy Cotton and Dorothy Height.

“It is evident as noted in this reflection that African American women were influential and highly effective in supporting Dr. King’s efforts to gain equal rights for all,” Brown explained.

“From an early age, Dr. King was surrounded by role models who guided him to believe that he could accomplish any goals he believed in.”

Brown also cited how music played a part in King’s legacy.

“Music was an intrical part of the church,” she noted. “Dr. King’s mother, an organist, used her music to deliver messages of hope to families. Music was the heart of their motivation during the difficult times. It kept all civil rights leaders under Dr. King’s movement focused on what they needed to do.”

Jonathan Leath, co-pastor at Moorestown’s Converge Church, spoke of how King lived with confidence in his leadership.

“When he had a chance to return evil for evil, he chose to choose the way of love,” Leath said. “When he had a chance to respond negatively, he chose to respond positively.”

“I believe that when we use that same principle of love right here in our town, it’ll help bring us together,” he added.

Colette McLean-Lamidi, a member of the Moorestown Alliance for Diversity and Equity (MADE), expressed how she would like the community to work together.

“When we begin to deeply understand beyond our own lived experiences, I believe it can foster mutual and collective effort and energy toward impactful and healthy social change,” she insisted.

Senior Student Council President Alex Bernstein made closing remarks.

“Martin Luther King Jr. often spoke of a beloved community, an ultimate goal of an upstanding society filled with love and respect for one another,” he said. “MLK preached that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

During the assembly, seniors Jola DaSilva and Jasleen Kalsi discussed their Unity in the Community club.

“We wanted to start something in our school or in our community just to promote the acceptance and appreciation of all the cultures that we have here,” DaSilva said. 

“I just feel like, feeling like you belong is really important, and it’s a really important component of a person’s mental well-being,” Kalsi said.

Junior Keyan Vojdani reflected on the school’s tribute to King.

“By commemorating his nonviolence techniques, his pathway of nonviolence and the pillars that he used for his actions is a way that we can pay back to our community,” he offered.

Sophomore Bhavika Verma and freshman Kyle Sumerson shared their interpretations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“It’s a day on, not a day off,” Sumerson advised. “I think that contributing to the community, just as Dr. King did … just impacting the community in little ways. Donating your time, donating your effort.”

“It’s a way for us to take a break and realize that there’s so much that binds us together in this world,” Verma said, “and if for a second we just focus on that, then I feel that we could have a peaceful world.”

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