HRC MLK Event Speaker Jeff King
Larchmont Mamaroneck Human Rights Committee’s 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration
On January 17, 2024, at Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont, students, parents, and community members gathered for the Larchmont Mamaroneck Human Rights Committee’s 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration.
The program began with the words of Jeff King (no relation to Dr. King), a proud alumnus of Mamaroneck High School and current Town of Mamaroneck Councilman, explaining what this community has meant to him and his family and his thoughts on this occasion. From his parents’ decision to move from Mount Vernon and their segregated school district to Mamaroneck, to the dark day in April 1968 when MLK was assassinated, to a summer vacation in the south with his grandparents, King shared relevant and powerful memories.
He reminded the students that they are the leaders of tomorrow who must carry on the values of MLK and “fight for a country that embraces the good in all of us”. King spoke of the power of music as a source of “solace and strength.” He spoke of his belief that we shall overcome discrimination in our society and schools, gun violence, the atrocities of October 7th, and the threat of genocide. Using many quotes from Dr. King, others and lyrics from familiar music, Jeff King left the audience inspired with confidence that we can move into the future with hope.
Following Jeff King’s presentation, MHS students, Jaheim Bent and Autumn Carino, facilitated a conversation with Mamaroneck School’s Jenny Rodriguez (Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging), and Leon Whyte and Bonnie Sloofman (District Equity Task Force Leaders). The District leaders spoke to how educational equity and a sense of belonging is being looked at in every aspect of the school district. The mission of the DET “is to identify, acknowledge, and dismantle the systemic barriers that prevent equity and access for all…”. The staff spoke about incremental progress in areas of curriculum and policy, and is using data to assess the progress. Their goal is to make our schools safe, inclusive environments where all children feel loved, are respected, have dignity and a sense of belonging so that all students can achieve.
Mamaroneck’s new school district superintendent, Dr. Charles Sampson introduced himself and described his own goals for the District and the centrality of Dr. King’s vision for our schools.
MHS students Isabella Bigatao, Gabrella Bailey, Autumn Carino, and Kaylee Taylor performed relevant and inspirational music and original poetry, accompanied by teachers Steph Chinn and Bill Derby.
This year’s Community Honorees were Neighbors for Refugees, accepted by Michael Reichgott, and Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration, accepted by Holly Rosen Fink. Both organizations have roots in our community but have spread their work of resettling refugees throughout Westchester and beyond.
The program was presented in partnership with C.U.R.E. (Coalitionfor Understanding Racism through Education) and the Community Resource Center and hosted by the Mamaroneck School District.
To see a video of the program: go to LMC-TV and search Local Events under the Youtube icon. For information on becoming a member of LMHRC write: LMhumanrights@gmail.com.