After a year of preparation, the Coalition for Human Dignity Club put on its yearly MLK assembly. In anticipation of the assembly, BHS students were asked to arrive to school in blue and orange, as unity and acting as one force was an important take away of the assembly. It opened with a much needed reminder of all Martin Luther King Junior stood for; love, forgiveness, and most importantly, nonviolence. While the United States has made huge strides toward equality for all people, this assembly outlined there is still a long wa
y to go and we must stand together in order to make a change.
The first musical performance was a beautiful jazz piece called “On Green Dolphin Street,” performed by Vikram Gupta, Michael Gorlin, Jonathon Schonfeld and Jack McGranahan. Then came perhaps the most powerful part of the assembly. After viewing MLK give his “I Had a Dream Speech,” Jack McGranahan and Henry Ross gave and unbelievably potent reenactment of the speech. They truly made the words of the lost leader come alive again. They did an incredible job as they spoke forcefully and with feeling. While MLK is no longer with us, with people as committed as keeping his message alive as the Coalition for Human Dignity Club, I have no doubt that we as a nation will be able to progress even farther.
What followed the reenactment of the speech really hit home; it was a video: “Heartbreakingly Familiar, Yet Decades Apart.” Civil Rights is still a prevalent issue today; it hasn’t gone away; the problem has not been solved. Due to police brutality and the still very evident racism, lives are being cut short as they ght for what they believe is right: human rights. The video closed with the chorus singing a touching rendition of “Down by the Riverside,” which was just the lighthearted truth we needed to prepare for the next part of the assembly. In between watching clips of the Black Lives Matter movement, Melissa Wells and Darian Dominguez answered questions asked by Sam Lanoff that we were all wondering the answers to. Sure Black Lives Matter is a necessary movement, but the movement does not mean that all lives don’t matter, in fact it doesn’t even mean that Black Lives
do not yet matter. All lives, including black lives, matter, the movement to change how the world perceives how much black lives matter. It is true, while all lives are equal and matter an equal amount, for some reason society has deemed certain races unequal for reasons that lack any argument at all.
At this point in the assembly I felt well-informed, yet frustrated that this was the world we lived in, where lives are considered less than other lives simply due to the color
of one’s skin. I then got chills as the clubs Noteworthy and the Bellatones performed “Colors of the Wind.” The talent in this school was showcased as different members sang solo to the hauntingly beautiful song from the Disney movie Pocahontas. The song depicted the feelings of the assembly perfectly it outlined that what is going on is incredibly sad but we still must be hop
eful for the future.
The assembly closed with yet another showcasing of the talent present at Briarcliff High School. Sharon Halevi sang “Rise Up,” as Andres Sanchez played the song on the piano. The whole club then appeared on stage, holding hands in a sign of unity. Mrs. French then closed out the assembly with two powerful quotes, one by a student
when asked why they were working so late, the answer was “There is work to be done.” There is work to be done in the world, and nothing will change unless we change it. We are the generation of the future; it is our responsibility now to encourage change. Mrs. French then quoted a plaque we have dedicated to MLK outside of the school that reads, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We must work to eliminate injustice. This ght, while long overdue, is now in our hands, and on behalf of my generation, we will not let down this country.
A special thanks to Ms. Cotnoir and the presidents of the Coalition for Human Dignity, Lauren Ballini and Steven Orientale, for organized such a beautiful event.