McLean honors Martin Luther King Jr.

McLean community commemorates MLK Jr. and his accomplishments

On Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, Americans across the country honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Although MLK Jr. was the leader of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s until his assassination 1968, his work and memory continues to influence the lives of Americans today.

“In honoring MLK Jr., we are also honoring the millions of people who fought and continue to fight to be included in ‘We the People,’” African American History teacher Erin Truesdell said. “He was the face of the movement and his words are still powerful, still relevant and still necessary in order for our country to continue moving forward.”

Along with social studies lectures in classes, some chose to celebrate MLK Jr. in their own ways.

“My family and I normally go to church and do volunteering with the youth group,” freshman Lizzie Warrell said. “MLK has influenced the community by encouraging people to take peaceful action when faced with inequality.”

Although MLK Jr. primarily focused on ending segregation and racial injustice, his teachings have influenced the principal characteristics of enacting change through the means of peace.

“I believe that without MLK Jr., gay and transgender people wouldn’t have started fighting for their rights,” sophomore Morgan Muntean said. “Because of that, I can marry who I want, and [that is] why we have gender neutral bathrooms in school which I use daily.”

Some students have found personal connection with King’s work and seek to emulate his highly successful methods of achieving change.

“I have taken a moment to read some of his speeches and practice things he preached, such as peace,” junior Reem Dahir said. “As a Black woman, MLK has influenced the way I view myself as a Black person in America and the way I view racism. He has impacted me in how I go about handling situations about race and [he has also allowed me to] understand that there are multiple ways to go about solving a problem.”

Truesdell urges members of the community to read King’s books and to really be educated on his achievements.

“He gave his life trying to make a better America,” Truesdell said. “We owe it to him to study his words and continue the work.”