Moving the dream forward

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day in chapel, students from the Black Student Union designed a program of readings, stories, spoken word, song and dance that highlighted both the progress made and the progress still needed in our country. Following are excerpts from the program. 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Dr. King was someone who believed in the growth of people – in the growth of a nation. Dr. King sought change through his ethic of care for others and non-violence. Here, at Peddie, we are high schoolers who can often be going through simultaneously the “worst time of our lives” as well as the “best time of our lives.” But most importantly we are growing – not just in terms of age – but psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. We have all reached an age where we can say to ourselves, “Wow, what I just did was messed up!” and we can all identify things about ourselves that we aren’t satisfied with. Dr. King recognized the same thing about us as a nation – that we are growing collectively. Much like high school students, we are a nation in transition.

Fifty-two years ago Dr. King spoke from this very pulpit and addressed the student body as I am right now. So today we will hear music, spoken word, see dance and most importantly recognize we are still a nation that needs change.

Jassiah McAnuff '20


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Sophomore Amaris Calhoun shared the life story of her great-grandmother, Christine Key. Below is an excerpt from, "Interview with my Grandma." 

Never in a million years did my grandma imagine having a great-granddaughter who attends an elite boarding school six states away from home with all different types of people from across the country and world. I am the true definition of what it means to be your ancestor’s wildest dreams. Nine decades filled with stories of laughter, pain, hard work, joy, tears, dedication, trials and tribulations, has guided me to where I am today and where I’ll go tomorrow. Her story informs the path of our generation. We must recognize the significance of the generations before us, because like James Baldwin said, “Know from whence you came. If you know from whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go."

Amaris Calhoun '21


The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Aklilu '21 performs spoken word
Newsome '21 performs spoken word
Himma '21 and Christopher '21 perform a spoken word piece as part of an MLK day celebration

Himma Aklilu '21 and Christopher
Newsome '21 perform a spoken
word piece titled, "Definitions."


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

In every system of government, from the Chinese regime which threw my grandparents into prison camps to the American authority which relegated some of your grandparents to schools that were entirely separate and definitively unequal, social injustice is too insidious and pervasive to be attributed to a name or a face or a color. In most cases it is institutionalized, meaning that our picket signs and megaphones by themselves are not capable of dismantling it. What we need more desperately now than ever before, in this age of misinformation, is the mentality of Dr. King himself. We must actively seek “intelligence plus character,” and regardless of the stereotypical emphasis on GPA or standardized exam scores, we must understand those true goals of education for ourselves. After all, education freed my father from dictatorship, brought me to this extraordinary place, and has mobilized our generation to wage an uncompromising war against social injustice. Whether or not we win that war is entirely dependent on our desire to do so, because, as Dr. King once said, “change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” 

Gordon Shi '21

People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other – because they have not communicated with each other. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Peddie parent Michele Meyer-Shipp (mother of Mason Shipp '21), chief diversity and inclusion officer at KPMG, LLC discussed the specifics of how the Peddie community can commit to making progress toward fully honoring Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy. Describing the importance of diversity – the unique experiences, qualities and characteristics each individual possesses, and inclusion – the creation of a culture that strives for equity and embraces, respects and values differences, Meyer-Shipp suggested these strategies for moving Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream forward:

  • Support one another’s individuality
  • Reach out to others
  • Educate yourself
  • Remain positive
  • Be an ally and an advocate

"Today’s program was incredible," Meyer-Shipp said. "All of the students who participated moved me with their words, their songs, and their heightened level of awareness. I’m so proud that my son is a part of the Peddie family!"