The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The community commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Athira Kasthuri (‘27)

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. voiced his dream for equality, calling for universal acceptance of all races and creeds. Now, over 60 years later, his dream is still celebrated as individuals join hands in advocating for equality and unity.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a social rights activist who focused his work on African American equality. January 15 has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1983, commemo-
rating the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.. On the calendar, this may seem like an extra day off of work and school, but local events emphasize that the roots are much deeper.

Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, hosted its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Family Festival on January 15, which has run for over a decade. They celebrate this day with free admission to view numerous collections and an addi- tional showcase promoting equality and relating to King’s messages. How- ever, their main focus is charity work. Featuring organizations such as Bucks County Housing Group and Trinity Church, presenta- tions are given to volunteer attendees to teach them about the causes the volunteers are contributing to through their crafts. These nonprofit programs take care of impoverished people by providing them with necessities they lack.

For this specific event, in past years, participants painted tote bags to fill with donations collected throughout the day. They take in offerings such as toilet paper, toothbrushes and other toiletries.

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“It does two things. For the people that attend and learn about those organiza- tions, they have a chance to connect with the museum and each other as a com- munity. They also learn about other nonprofits and the other ways they can give back. It also helps the people that are benefitting from the nonprofits by in- creasing that awareness and collecting items for them,” representative Andrea Thompson said on behalf of the museum.

Closer to the Cherry Hill area, Holbein School in Mt. Holly hosted a Martin Lu- ther King Jr. Day (MLK Day) multicultural festival, arranged by the district.

The event contained different booth set-ups for each culture, run by locals. Each booth had an individual activity such as food tasting, dancing or handing out educational tri-folds. Since Holbein School contains levels K-12, this event was suitable for all ages. As for younger students or those who need a quieter setting, the library was open so they could have the same experience but in a more controlled environment.

“I think it underlines the importance of togetherness rather than separation, and I think in a community like ours, a smaller community, it highlights the diversity which is a strength of
Mt. Holly … It highlights the uniqueness of people as well as greatness of each individual culture,” administrator Daniel Finn of Holbein School said.

“As you’re putting things together, you get a touch of each presenter and each culture that is there, so I think it would be a very valuable experience at the high school level,” Finn said.

Lastly, the Coalition for Peace Action had a multifaith service in Princeton, New Jersey. It was a 90-minute service with other events in order to celebrate and honor each faith in a different aspect, appealing to all audiences. In addition, there was a volunteer choir that met and practiced before the event to perform, containing about 75 volunteers.

As for the full audience, in past years they have had turnouts of up to 500 with a large range of age groups. This event was slightly altered each year, as it dates back to the first year of MLK Day being celebrated nationwide in 1986. Planning each year begins in September to ensure those who attend will never leave disappointed or unmoved by the service.

“In diversity there is strength. That is to say that because so many different faith groups are participating in the service…but then we’ve got many different people with many different traditions in the region. It’s not just Christian and Jewish, but it includes Muslims, Bahá’í Faith, etcetera,” said Executive Director Reverend Robert Moore.

In essence, Martin Luther King Day is a holiday celebrated by all which unites not just the local community, but America. Getting involved and working for charity has never been as easy as it is today. January 15 this year was a day representing togetherness without discrimination as shown through the welcoming event planners. Martin Luther King once had a dream that his children would be judged by the quality of their character rather than their skin color. Today, events like these have made it visible that the community is making strides to accomplish this dream in his honor.

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