MLK Celebration: What Happened? – Opinion

It has been a little over a week since we last experienced the advisory presentations regarding Martin Luther King, but the news is still smoking hot. It was apparent to all students that there would be no assembly and when the RamPage sent out a survey it showed that 68.8% of students who responded would much rather see an assembly than sit through and interact with another advisory project. 

Ms. Reed, our activity director, has since told me (the Chief Editor of the RamPage) that there in fact will be a national speaker by the name of Mike Smith. Mike will speak on the topic on how any form of discrimination and hate can lead to a toxic work environment, especially at school. I was also told by Ms. Reed that teachers were informed there would be a speaker, but why did no students get the message?

When I asked a few teachers, they denied that they had been informed on an assembly, and students remained in the dark. There was a vast amount of students who were utterly upset by the absence of the assembly when I spoke to them, and most have still not been told there will be one. The thing is though, an assembly should have been the priority for MLK Day, not the classroom presentations, in my opinion.

There are RUMORS that the assembly will be in March, but that has not been confirmed. Nonetheless, we should have already had an assembly planned much earlier for MLK Day! No one knew there would be a two hour delay on the Friday we were supposed to be shown the presentations, but couldn’t something more have been planned anyways? One student by the name of Ethan McKune shared his opinion on the lack of Martin Luther King recognition:

“The celebration of Martin Luther King is very important and should be taken very seriously as MLK worked very hard and made many sacrifices, even his own life to try to right our nation’s national shame. When ASB came up with this sorry excuse for an MLK appreciation activity, I was not only disappointed, but almost embarrassed to be known as a North Thurston Ram. Not to mention the horrendous attempt to fix the failure that transpired. A couple videos playing during lunch does not even begin to right the wrong.”

While most student respondents would prefer an assembly–which we are in fact getting–the majority of students who filled out the assembly did enjoy the presentations. One student even said, “I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to express the dreams that I had.” More quotes can be found below along with the graphs.

  • I really enjoyed doing the I Have A Dream project in advisory. I’ve also enjoyed assemblies in the past! I would do either one, but if we did do the advisory project, we should include more about what MLK did instead of just showing his speech. 
  • I feel like this was a lazy shortcut way of honoring MLK, I’m pretty sure we’re required to have an actual assembly anyway. Most advisories are empty anyway because people skip, I’m not saying they wouldn’t skip an assembly as well, but you get the point. I just think it’s funny and maybe a bit insulting to me as an African American student that we seem to have time for stupid pep assemblies, but we can’t even honor MLK properly? I doubt anything will be done to celebrate Black History Month either.
  • Add more activity that students can be more involved events such as games, etc.
  • It’s really nice having a small discussion instead of a loud assembly. Please do this more often.
  • I didn’t learn anything and I felt like I was a 1st grader coloring.

This whole process for recognition has seemingly upset a number of students, but I assure you there is more coming. Our peers here at North Thurston would prefer an assembly over advisory presentations, so lets make that the priority for next year. Just like Martin Luther King, we have a voice here at Thurston, and we can make change.

Regardless of what has transpired, the ideas and morals Martin Luther King set into stone should always be remembered and expressed throughout our everyday lives. Thank you to everyone who submitted responses regarding the MLK presentations and the future for them, and thank you to Ms. Reed for the information on the upcoming assembly.