by Evan Swearingen – Staff Reporter
For the first time, Kentlake’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. assembly was led by the Black Student Union on January 12. The assembly consisted of multiple readings of poems and speeches about current civil rights issues concerning race. Modernizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s message, the Black Lives Matter movement was the primary focus of the assembly this year, leaving many students of varying races with conflicting opinions and mixed emotions.
There was surprise from students about the subject matter of the assembly. From a non-African-American minority’s point of view, Paulo Tapasa said, “The focus point wasn’t necessarily on MLK Jr…the stance was moreso on the lives of blacks in America today and the Black Lives matter movement, which threw me off guard”. Tapasa along with many other students were expecting more of a traditional Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly. Specifically, about his history, what his message was, and what it means for students now.
It is undeniable that the assembly put some mixed feelings into the hearts of Kentlake’s students. As a part of Kentlake’s majority Caucasian population, David Ellithorpe said, “I definitely felt uncomfortable”, a statement to which many of Kentlake’s Caucasian students would agree to. On the other hand, African-American student Calvin Sloan said, “I think the way the Black Student Union presented [Black Lives Matter] was really well done”. It seems that there was a general explanation for the African-American students’ situation that was communicated through the assembly. As an outsider looking in, Tapasa said, “It makes a very confusing position in this country. With all the seeming uprise of conflict between blacks and whites, it makes where the rest of us stand hard to say”.
However, regardless of any separation between the different races of Kentlake, all students seem to agree that Kentlake is a safe school to learn in. Sloan said, “In the end, all of the teachers want students to succeed, and they work with every student, and in the end, the goal is to get us all to
graduate so we can become important members of society.” All in all, the overall goal is that no student is left behind.”