With the theme of BE LIKE MARTIN, Charles H. Bullock Elementary School’s 15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was a true celebration of service for all who attended. Over 200 attendees completed crafts, prepared and packed meals for homebound seniors, and enjoyed a slideshow timeline of Dr. King’s life. The second half of the program included a world-class musical performance by the P.A.C.E. Music Group, including “The Trumpet Chicks,” from Camden, NJ. NYC recording artist Rachel Brown also performed with the music group. To close the event, families delivered homemade meals to seniors in our community.
Candi Carter, a Charles H. Bullock parent and Executive Producer of The View, ABC, explained the theme to attendees: “We chose the theme ‘BE LIKE MARTIN’ because today, more than ever, we need to remind ourselves and our children that the fight for equality and inclusion is long from over. Today is a call to action. ‘BE LIKE MARTIN’ means committing to things you can do to help heal this country and help people understand each other better.”
The activities were varied and followed the BE LIKE MARTIN, emphasizing that they have the power to create change in their communities and the world. Children created inspirational collages with words and images emphasizing the positive messages of the day. They also took part in a Clothesline Project, brainstorming and writing statements of how each of us can be more like Dr. King in our day-to-day lives. Families learned about voting rights and participated in a school-wide vote, and each voter received an I VOTED! sticker. Further demonstrating how we can all positively impact our communities, children wrote their own I Have A Dream speeches that mirrored their hopes and dreams for the future. A popular and fun activity included completing a scavenger hunt focused on young people making positive change in unique ways, both large and small.
Nina Nsilo-Swai, a Charles H. Bullock parent, has chaired the event for the last five years. “The MLK Day On celebration shows the best of our CHB community and teaches kids that together we can make a difference. Families prepared and packaged meals for 119 homebound seniors in our town. And families pledged over 100 hours of volunteer service! That makes a difference. That’s what we wanted the kids to learn today. And of course have a good time while doing it thanks to the dazzling talents of P.A.C.E. Music Group and recording artist, Rachel Brown.“
The music was a Celebration of the Music of the Civil Rights Movement. The P.A.C.E. Music Group performed John Coltrane’s “Alabama – A Civil Rights Suite,” “Say It Loud” by James Brown, and a medley of “How High the Moon” from Ella Fitzgerald and “Déjà vu” by Beyoncé. The audience gave more than one standing ovation, and then sang along to Rachel Brown’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday,” a final tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
A tribute to the celebration of community and making a positive impact, children and adults alike stayed to help put away chairs and clean up the auditorium. The organizers are hopeful that the BE LIKE MARTIN theme will inspire and carry through for all of 2018.
Videos of the performances and additional photos of the activities can be viewed at the CHB PTA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CharlesHBullockNJPTA/