By, Crystal Y. ’20
“I have a dream,” began Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963 during the March on Washington—and on January 22, 2019, during Winsor’s annual MLK celebration. The speech is shown every year at the beginning of the event to serve as a reminder of the legacy he left behind. This year’s celebration, which was the 26th one, was no different; centered around the theme “Service: A Path to Justice,” the speech helped to set the tone for the night that followed.
The program included a showing of the film Social Justice for All, a welcome address by Ms. Pelmas, and a reading done by Lower Schoolers of the poem Justice by Navi. Throughout the event, the Winsor Inspirational Singing Ensemble (WISE) performed three times to rouse spirits, including a finale of Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing. Followed by an introduction, special guest speaker Rachel Rollins, the Suffolk County District Attorney, shared six pieces of advice with the Winsor community. Namely, to be grateful, deliberate, willing to advocate for oneself, aware of the need to take care of our physical and emotional wellbeing, willing to “do what’s right,” and unafraid of failure.
Additionally, Karilyn Crockett ’91, a lecturer at MIT concerning Public Policy and Planning, delivered a touching address, which concluded that “the question of what we are willing to give is really, ‘How uncomfortable are we willing to be for the cause of justice?’”
Two Winsor students were also invited to share their thoughts on what justice looks like. Karen T. ’19 connected to Dr. King’s faith in God, stating that “I do service whenever I can because of my desire to help others and because I want to empower the change that I wish to see in this world.” Jamila O. ’19‘s reflection centered on the right to vote. She urged her audience to “assume an active role in the fight for justice, no matter how seemingly small: let’s question our comfort with the inequitable systems in place, educate ourselves about the injustices that still exist, challenge ourselves to speak out, and hold ourselves accountable as advocates and allies.” Both highlighted tangible elements of Dr. King’s legacy that we, as students, should consciously strive toward: service and justice.
The celebration, once again, both honors Dr. King and helps give his lessons and morals a modern context that can be applied moving forward in the future. As the Winsor community moves toward becoming agents of change, we should keep in mind that, as Dr. King said, “true peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”