What Martin Luther King Jr. means to me
With Martin Luther King Day coming up, five students from Yokota Middle and High School reflect on his historical accomplishment.
Freedom. Before Martin Luther King Jr., it meant people had rights, but some people had more rights than others because of the color of their skin. Life was unfair to many. That all changed one day.
Before August of 1963, white people and African American people had separate theatres, drinking fountains, bathrooms, schools and other things because of the color of their skin. Many people know Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream speech” and to me that means courage, honor, bravery, care, friends, dignity, faith, and most of all peace.
It took many steps and leaps of faith with people knowing they might get in trouble, but they still did it. They dared to do this because they wanted to be treated fairly and with respect the way white people were and they wanted a better future for all. They knew what they wanted. That want gave them enough strength and perseverance to follow through.
On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech and everything changed in the Untied States. We were actually united together. People kept their faith to get here, so now everyone is free. All my friends, my community, my life, and the lives of many others are the way they are today because of these people who did great things.
Now people of all shades and colors have the same rights because of determination which Martin Luther King Jr. gave a good example of. Today in our hearts we thank all those who risked their lives for us to live the lives we live today because of the fact that he inspired people to fight for fairness. We still need to work hard to make sure we continue to keep our laws fair for all. People also have to want a better life for all and strive to keep things fair so we do not repeat segregation. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “let freedom ring.” These words of bravery will always ring in our communities and hearts for many reasons.
Casey August, Grade 6
Yokota Middle School
Who is Martin Luther King Jr.? Why is he important? Let’s blast back in time to explore.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man. He was a church minister and civil rights activist. He led a great march called the March on Washington in 1963. Here he gave his great speech known as his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Without Martin Luther King Jr. there would be chaos. Imagine being separated from your friends. If you were black or another minority, you would go to separate schools, and if you were white, you would attend whites only schools. We would all be separated. Students would miss out on friendships and we would miss out on learning about different cultures. There might even be another Civil War which would tear our country apart. Martin Luther King Jr. is important to me because he teaches us to follow our dreams and speak up for our rights.
Malachi Tate, Grade 6
Yokota Middle School
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King made his powerful “I have a dream” speech to the whole crowd to help for civil rights. If Martin Luther King didn’t make that speech, my family wouldn’t be here right now because we’re immigrants. Other people wouldn’t be able to see what the world was really like. I wouldn’t also have had my close friends I have now because some of them were immigrants and other colors. My life would be very unhappy because of me seeing the people of other colors being treated differently and badly.
Martin Luther King’s speech was so powerful; it at least spread to the whole United States. He gave black people the most amazing gift back then. It was a tragedy when he died because I’m sure he would be able to make other speeches that would be as important, but the speech kept going on till to now. He made a speech that changed the United States completely. I couldn’t imagine the population in the United States from back then to now that knew martin Luther king’s speech.
Most people in the United States still remember him today, which is a big honor for him. I’m happy because he made everyone in the United States get treated equally. He inspired and helped readers make big and important chances and some changes. His speech took so long and it all started with “I have a dream.” No one should ever forget the name of Martin Luther King.
John Maher, Grade 6
Yokota Middle School
Martin Luther King Jr. was one man that forever revolutionized the lives of thousands of people in the United States. He had a dream of a peaceful world where everyone was treated alike, no matter their social background or race. During his almost 40 years on this earth, he sought for a way to end the horrible consequences brought on by racial discrimination. Through his many speeches, non-violent boycotts, and peaceful marches, he moved thousands of people, not just in America, but worldwide, to spread his message of freedom and equality. He believed that all men were created equal, and with that one phrase, he banded thousands of people at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington D.C., where he spoke those very words: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of this creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” On that very day, Aug. 28, 1963, he spoke those very words in front of about 250,000 people, forever spreading the message of love, freedom, and equality.
Every single person deserves to have a free and fulfilling life where they can do anything to their hearts content. We should never be judged by our racial or social background when we come to America. We should be greeted with open arms knowing that we have entered a new era of peace and prosperity. That is why we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to remind us that we are free, and we should treat others the way we treat ourselves. That is why it is our responsibility as people and Americans to continue spreading the message of freedom and equality, not just in the United States, but all around the world. So that history may never repeat itself. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to inspire me every day to be the very best that I can be in this peaceful world that he has worked so hard for to give us. Thank you for everything Martin Luther King Jr.!
Francis Maher, Grade 9
Yokota High School
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started a legacy that ended up becoming worldwide. He made it possible for everyone to be at peace with one another. His dream was for everyone to be equal no matter what your skin color is. Even though, we today might not see that, he made it possible for all nationalities to be able to interact with one another. Dr. King inspires me to this day to accept others for who they are, not what they look like.
Dr. King is an amazing leader; he was dedicated to making a change. Even though it was dangerous to speak out, he was not afraid. I look up to him as a role model and leader. I am honored to be a part of his worldwide legacy that took time, patience and dedication. Dr. King gave me a life that I would have never been able to experience without his sacrifices. Since Aug. 28, 1963, to today, he still has an effect on our country.
“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Shayna Scavetta, Grade 9
Yokota High School