DEARBORN— On Monday, January 20, Dearborn Public Schools students and other volunteers focused on community service as part of a tribute to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream of unity and equality.
The event, held at the Islamic Center of America, gathered high school students from the district and community members. It had the theme of “Making a Difference.”
Along with the guest speakers who honored Dr. King and spoke of the importance of the historic day, people gathered to make cards for senior citizens and blankets for foster care children.
Guest speakers included Dearborn Schools Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko, Wayne County Commissioner Sam Baydoun, State Rep. Abdullah Hamoud (D-Dearborn), Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education Trustee Mary Lane and DPS Coordinator for Affective Education Danene Charles.
As a community leader himself, Baydoun’s message during the MLK event was a call for building stronger bridges between people of different faiths and to unify efforts against inequality and oppression.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Day is important in reminding us that our beloved country is still a work in progress,” Baydoun said. “We owe it to our children to leave the world better than we found it. The time to act is never in the past.”
Moreover, Hammoud said the meaning of making true change is to make the world a better place. He said it is about consistency and advocating for a system that people care about.
Charles quoted one of King’s famous quotes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat everywhere.” She further emphasized pockets of kindness every day can lead to justice, and that it is important to have strength and dignity. She also said that when it comes to fighting oppression, it is important to stand up for and with others.
Students and community members highlighted the importance of service to King’s legacy. As Dr. King himself said, “Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service.”
In 2016, high school students from across Dearborn planned the first Real Dearborn March for MLK Day. This event was designed to highlight and embrace the community’s diversity. With assistance from the city of Dearborn, students continued to plan marches for two more years.
Last year, however, student organizers used King’s message of inclusion and fighting hate with love to focus more on community service. This year, students made 50 cards and almost 30 fleece blankets.
After the activities in the mosque, students and volunteers went to St. Sarkis Towers, a senior apartment complex near the Islamic center. They provided company and joyful activities to residents.