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The community experiences “Lifting the Veil of Ignorance”

<p>Congressman John Conyers addresses a packed auditorium with words of encouragement about unity for all people.</p>

Congressman John Conyers addresses a packed auditorium with words of encouragement about unity for all people.

King’s staff and students held its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on Monday, Jan. 16.  This year’s theme, “Lifting the Veil of Ignorance,” afforded spectators an educational journey through the history of the African American experience.  The “veil of ignorance” is a quote from John Rawls, a philosophy professor, which suggests that people sometimes make decisions for justice behind a metaphoric veil. 

“I think that this event being held at Martin Luther King High School, where I am an alumnus, speaks volumes to the fact that we cannot let the dream die,” said Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, Vice President of DPSCD (Detroit Public Schools Community District).  “In doing the dream, we also have to be in position to put action behind the speech.”

To educate onlookers, certain wings of King’s facility were set up with skits, speeches, information, and singing.  Also, visitors were divided into groups, with each group arbitrarily assigned a race: black or white.  The “blacks” received poor treatment while “whites” received superior treatment.

“Your staff and students certainly put forth a great deal of time, effort and energy in making the many visuals hanging around the building, planning the role playing and displays,” wrote teacher Gary Cousino of Rochester Community Schools in a letter to Principal Deborah Jenkins.

The annual MLK day was certainly a sight to see. Over the past eight years there have been thousands of people from all over the state of Michigan to attend.

“I don’t think the message ever grows old,” said Jenkins. “We are supposed to live our lives to model the way so that we can create a better world.”

The exhibits helped youth who may have been less familiar with the issues and history to become more aware, and brought to life why people still celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. 

s“At times, I could see that my daughter was uncomfortable, which made for a great learning conversation and the opportunity to see other perspectives,” wrote Cousino.  “It was a very educational and worthwhile day.”

Congressman John Conyers, Reverend Wendell Anthony, Senator Gary Peters, Interim DPS Superintendent Alycia Meriweather, and Detroit City Council members Brenda Jones, Mary Sheffield, and James Tate were some of the distinguished guests.


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