Rochester Community Schools Honor Martin Luther King Jr. (video)

Renaissance_Unity_Brown_TopRochester Community wrightADJENtallSchools Honor Martin Luther King Jr. (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 18, 2016)

Rochester, MI – Students from all grades came together Thursday to pay homage to fallen civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

“He taught so many of us about peace, equality, respect and love,” said Kasthuri Molakaluri of Brewster Elementary School. “As children we should know that we treat all our friends with respect no matter what their religion is, their language is and if they’re rich or poor. Dr. King helped people so we should do our part in the world.”

royal_servicesMolakaluri was one of many students who took the stage as part of an evening-long celebration of King’s life. The show included songs, band performances, and poetry readings.  The auditorium was lined with posters made by students, featuring quotes and wishes for their own dreams.

Elected officials helped introduce the celebration. Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said “In a nation that so often turns to loud voices and anger, Dr. King resorted to peace and calling out to the common good in each of us.”

Oakland Township Supervisor spoke of American Exceptionalism and the Declaration of Independence. “I challenge each one of our students to have a dream, to have a goal and obtain the education necessary to achieve your goal. Don’t let anyone tell you you are a victim. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t succeed,” he said.

Other speakers included Rochester Mayor Cathy Daldin, Rochester Community Schools Board of Education Treasurer Kristin Bull, and LTC Rodney Crenshaw of the US Army who is also sidebar01sponsorPresident of the Rochester African American Parent Network. Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaner also spoke about his experience in the military, stating that Dr. King would have made a good Marine, and sharing the idea of service before self.

A powerful part of the evening was when a video was shown that included students from all schools, each reading parts of the famous “I have a dream” speech the Dr. King delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963. The audience of parents and students also joined together in the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson.

The legacy left by Dr. King was echoed by each participant, including Garrett Busignani of Hampton Elementary whose poem said, in part “He was gentle. He was strong. He wanted all to know right from wrong. It didn’t matter the color of your skin. He believed that what mattered came from within. From the mountain tops he did scream, ‘brothers and sisters, I have a dream.’”

Check out highlights from evening in the video below:

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