Liberty Bell High School is sponsoring a celebration, presentation and panel discussions on Wednesday (Jan. 14) in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day for students and interested community members.
The goals of the MLK Day (celebrated on Jan. 19) event are to honor the legacy of King and to support individual and shared responsibilities that cultivate an open-minded, caring community, according to Lisa Monahan, a chemistry and biology teacher at Liberty Bell and an organizer of the program.
The keynote speaker is Donte Quinine, director of Student Life, Outreach and Recruitment at Wenatchee Valley College. Quinine will speak on “The Beloved Community: Creating an Inclusive Environment Where Everyone Can Thrive,” which comes from King’s belief that all conflict, hatred, poverty and violence can be eradicated by the power of love and compassion, said Quinine.
The keynote presentation and panel discussions will reinforce the importance of being principled and acting with integrity and a strong sense of justice and fairness, with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere.
Before the MLK Day presentation, students in biology, English and history classes will watch segments from the documentary RACE: The Power of an Illusion. Producers of the three-part documentary note that “most of our common assumptions about race — for instance, that the world’s people can be divided biologically along racial lines — are wrong. Yet the consequences of racism are very real.”
After Quinine’s talk, panelists will discuss some of the issues and conflicts in the Methow Valley and how King’s teachings can lead towards a “beloved community.”
Questions for exploration in panel discussions include:
• Why is it important for students and community members to care about social justice?
• What are some current issues at the school or in the community related to bias, racism and social justice?
• How can students and community members become active citizens to create change?