Restoration and the Dream: Hotchkiss Commemorates MLK Day 
Hotchkiss Gospel Choir

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By Darryl Gangloff

The Hotchkiss community engaged in a full day of workshops, community service activities, dorm conversations, and programs on Monday, Jan. 15, to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In the morning, students took their seats in Walker Auditorium and enjoyed a performance by the Gospel Choir. Daymyen Tyler Lane, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, then addressed the crowd.

“I'm honored to stand before you as we embark on a day of reflection and inspiration under the theme of restoration and the dream,” he said. “This is the day to consider how each of us in our unique capacities can contribute to the ongoing quest for justice and peace. Let this celebration be a catalyst for thoughtful conversation, a journey into the depths of understanding, and a commitment to fostering a Bearcat community where diversity is celebrated and inclusion is inherently our collective strength.”

Cleo Scott Brown speaks at Hotchkiss for MLK Day

Lane introduced Cleo Scott Brown, a national speaker and writer who focuses on issues of race, voting, and class. She is the author of Witness to the Truth and Raceology 101, which was the 2018 first-place winner in the National Federation of Press Women’s nonfiction category.

Brown’s presentation, “Voter Disenfranchisement: A Clear and Present Danger,” covered voting rights prior to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and a 2013 Supreme Court decision that “changed everything,” she said.

“History teaches us that when there are no legal protections, there are no protections,” Brown emphasized. She said that throughout history, the young have helped bring about meaningful change. She asked Bearcats to register to vote when they are eligible, investigate candidates, attend town and school meetings, watch debates, volunteer as poll workers, contact legislators, and support real journalism.

“Will you be the change?” she asked the crowd. “It only takes one to be the catalyst.”

The morning programming continued with remarks from Helena Inzerillo ’25 and Head of School Craig Bradley. Kristian Maxwell-Wimberly ’25 sang Andra Day’s Rise Up and Jacquo Pierre ’24 recited a poem.

“On a day like today, each of us can be reminded and recommitted to doing our part, no matter how big or small, in our own way—to being contributors to a better, more equitable, unified community, which is at the heart of the aspirations King had in his dream,” Helena said.

In his remarks, Bradley spoke about the need to steward democracy. “Why do we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?” he asked the room. “We do this because it matters. We do this because the work of ensuring that a fair and representative democracy thrives in perpetuity in the United States is not over, nor will it ever be over. It is work in which each of us must take part, this year and every year to come.”

Hotchkiss MLK Day Workshop

Students then dispersed across campus and participated in more than 20 workshops and community service activities, from learning about the history, music, and movements of Capoeira Angola in the Black Box to cooking meals for local food pantries in the Ford Food Court. After lunch, they reconvened for dorm conversations.

In the closing ceremony in Katherine M. Elfers Hall, Jason Larson, director of religious and spiritual life and instructor in philosophy and religion, said, “From all of us on the DEI Team and DEI Council, we appreciate the way in which you have leaned into your activities, workshops, and talks today. You all honor Dr. King’s legacy for your work in building up the beloved community here and in the world.”

Students took the stage to share reflections from their dorm conversations. “Today we discussed how MLK’s words inspired hope for the future, which we can also apply to the Hotchkiss community,” one student said. “As we lift each other up with kindness, this behavior spreads throughout the school, inspiring the rest of the student body.”

Lane closed the ceremony with a reflection on the day’s programming. “Today was a collective journey into the essence of justice, of equality, and of the dream that unites us all,” he said. “In reflecting on MLK’s words and his work, let us remember that the quest for justice and peace is an ongoing and collective endeavor. Each of us contributes to the narrative of progress and understanding. As we step away from this evening, may we be guided by the principles of equity, compassion, and the unwavering belief in the possibility of positive change.”

 

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