Community High MLK day Assembly 2015

As performers hurried around the empty church, testing out the microphones, tuning their instruments and touching up on their dance moves, anticipation for the annual MLK day assembly filled the air. Janelle Johnson and Matt Johnson, Community High teachers, sat in front of the altar setting up the projector as students rehearsed their stories and poetry with each other in the pews.

The theme of the assembly was a comparison of racism throughout the years,  a celebration of the progress that has been made towards equality, and a reminder that there is still work to be done.

“The message that we send through this comparison is that we should all actively be trying to work towards racial progress, and not rest and rely on the progress we’ve already made and remain stagnant,” said Eva Rosenfeld, a junior at Community and member of diversity club. “It’s important for us to actively acknowledge that we’re not living in a post-racial society.”

To start off the assembly Raven Eaddy shared a powerful story that drew parallels between slavery and modern day racism. The story starts by introducing Henry who was a man who was trapped in slavery, then transitioned to tell the story of a boy seven generations later who was shot down by police in an act of racism.

Exceptional guest speaker Dr. Larry Lee Rowley shared an eloquent and enthralling speech on Martin Luther King and the idea of community. Dr. Rowley works for the University of Michigan, has written extensively about different issues about the relationship between universities and African Americans and black communities. He received a 2003 Faculty Award for outstanding research mentoring and a 2005 Rackham appreciation award from the Rackham graduate school. He focused on three ideals of Dr. King and how they can help us improve the community.

Then a few members of Dance Body performed an emotional dance to the song Dreams by Somo. Followed by another three members performing an improv dance routine to live jazz music played by Community jazz students.

A number of students shared powerful and thought provoking poetry throughout the assembly. Each poem focused on a separate and specific issue while all sticking to the themes of oppression, and what we need to do as a society to achieve equality and acceptance.

Eva and Oby shared about the paralleled between racism now and then using a slide show, and how similar modern day occurrences are similar to racist occurrence 300 years ago. “It’s important for us to actively acknowledge that we’re not living in a post racial society, that racism manifests itself differently than it did in 1960 but it is still very much a part of our lives.”

Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader in one of the most important social justice movements in the United States. He led non-violent protests and demonstrations against the injustices that African Americans faced at that time.

“He’s a symbol of hope and improvement to me. He did so much for the African American community,” said Oby Ugwuegbu, a Community High senior and founder of the Diversity Club.