Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Wednesday, January 12, Grace Church School commenced its MLK Peace Program and Symposium, an annual commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement and the influential figures that continue to propel it forward.
Each year, the school comes together around a central theme, often recognizing a leader or role model who embodies the values that Dr. King exemplified—a willingness to stand for what’s right, and a drive to take the actions needed to make our communities equitable and just for all.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Visible and Invisible Selves,” acknowledging and understanding how the many aspects of our identities make us who we are. And in the classroom, students, faculty and staff highlighted the work of Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray (1910-1985), civil rights lawyer, intersectional activist, poet, author and Episcopal priest.

The community started the day with the MLK Peace March. Handmade signs in-hand, students, faculty and staff took part in the silent protest, walking from 86th 4th Avenue to Union Square Park. The march was followed by a Peace Chapel Service in Grace Church, in which students spoke on the importance of carrying on Dr. King’s legacy, shared what they’ve learned about Dr. Murray, and celebrated various members of the community who’ve championed change and inclusiveness at Grace. You can watch this year’s Peace Chapel* here

At the High School, students continued this commemoration of Dr. King’s legacy with the three-day long MLK Symposium, which featured several student-led workshops, performances by high school musical groups and a keynote performance by Mwenso and the Shakes, a jazz and roots band showcasing the Black ancestral diaspora through music. Each year, the symposium allows for students and faculty alike to share their thoughts and research on history and culture as they relate to race, religion, gender identity and more.

*A note from Dean of Equity and Inclusion, Jean-Robert Andre: “You will hear various pronouns used throughout the service to refer to Rev. Dr. Murray. This is because if Dr. Murray were alive today, they may not have chosen binary pronouns based on their experience of their own gender.” Click here for further information from the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice.