MHS Celebrates MLK Day With Virtual Assembly

For the second year in a row, the MHS Multicultural Student Union produced a student-centered video for MLK Day.


Photo Courtesy of NPR

American civil rights leader Martin Luther King addresses admiring crowds during the March On Washington.

Sam Berg

MHS celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day every year. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this day was celebrated with a school-wide assembly that included performances by the student body to honor MLK and his legacy. Ever since Mrs. Shannon Turner-Porter retired, the Multicultural Student Union (MSU) has been crucial in organizing this event. In January 2021, MHS celebrated MLK Day for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. To ensure everyone’s safety, the assembly was accomplished through a video format. By communicating through Zoom, and working with Ms. Elmoznino’s video students, MSU was able to create a video that included poems, songs, speeches, and other mediums.

This year, MSU was able to meet in person, which enabled them to create the video assembly with Elmoznino and her video students. Planning for this big project began in early November, when MSU began holding additional meetings. “This year, especially, we felt very fortunate to be able to meet together in-person; it made us feel like more of a community as we were able to share [what] MLK meant to us and how we wanted to share his message with the school.” said Miyuki Oblitas (‘23), MSU’s Senior Director of Social Justice. “We feel honored to have been able to bring together the impactful voices of MHS to share what Martin Luther King Jr. Day means to us.” According to Oblitas and Sofia Martinez (‘23), Senior Director of Student Engagement of MSU, the club is “proud to say that this year we are able to continue this tradition with new moves as one of Dr. King’s speeches is read.”

The video was shown during second period on Thursday, January 20th, and included original speeches, candid interviews, a step dance performance, and more. Students sang songs to honor Dr. King, including multiple performances by Kaylee Taylor (‘23). She sang “Lift Every Voice And Sing” and “Stand Up” with the help of members of the MHS Choir. Taylor’s first performance (“Lift Every Voice And Sing”) was followed by an introduction by Melanie Huang and Adeze Chukwu (both ‘23). There was then a performance by the Step Team to excerpts of MLK’s “Great March to Freedom Rally Speech”, read by Jillian Mercado (‘22) and Olencia Campbell (‘24). After this came Taylor and the MHS Choir’s performance of “Stand Up”, followed by some shots of work being done on a mural honoring MLK Jr. and his legacy. Thomas Palmer (‘24) then read a piece he wrote, titled “A Fight for Rights”, which was succeeded by a brief history of the achievements of black people in the USA. The supervening performance was a reading of Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb”, read by Jaheim Bent (‘25). The next performance was a rendition of “Stand Up For Something” by Sofia Martinez, followed by Autumn Carino (‘25) reading her piece “Can This be Change?”. This was succeeded by numerous interviews produced by Miyuki Oblitas. In addition to interviewing students Natalia Kam (‘24), Briana Whitfield (‘24), and Samba Seck (‘25), she also interviewed Nicole Afliante and Pam Brandman from The Coalition for Understanding Racism Through Education and Leilani Yizar from the Westchester Youth Advisory Council. The superseding performance was an original dance to “Still I Rise” by Liv Bobby (‘22). The final performance of the video was a speech written by Jordan Davis (‘23) titled “Creating Spaces for Change”. The 2022 MLK Jr. Day video was an endeavor that took months of planning and organizing. It allowed MHS students to honor MLK Jr.’s legacy in a meaningful way, even in the unorthodox circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.