Archer celebrates dynamic, ongoing legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Photo credit: Emily Paschall

This book display in Archer’s library showcases books about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and spotlights the causes he supported. Assistant Librarian Denise Hernandez helped assemble this book display, which is one of the many ways students and faculty at Archer celebrated and honored MLK Day.

By Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter

Monday, Jan. 16, marked what would have been the 94th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Day is a federal holiday and schools nation wide, including Archer, are typically closed. On this past MLK Day, some Archer students participated in service opportunities that supported Dr. King and his beliefs. Faculty and staff members also celebrated MLK Day.

One way adults at Archer celebrated Dr. King’s legacy was by displaying books in the library that honored him and the causes that he fought for. Assistant Librarian Denise Hernandez helped assemble this book display, which included “March” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, The words of Martin Luther King Jr.” by Corretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. and “Dear Martin” by Nic Stone.

I wanted to include books that weren’t just solely about him, but maybe about causes that he supported,” Hernandez said. “‘March’ is one of those … It talks a lot about John Lewis and other Civil Rights activists [who were] advocates of the time, and that would be a really good introduction for people who don’t really know or maybe want a more visual representation of what that looked like.” 

Hernandez said the book display was to show students that Archer stands with King’s beliefs and believes MLK Day is important to celebrate.

We’re very on top of cultural heritage months because it means a lot to us that everyone who walks into this library sees a representation of themselves on the shelf,” Hernandez said. “When our Black or African American students walk in, they should know that we promote what MLK stood for and that we take the time to put a focus on it.” 

In the spirit of King’s commitment to community, sophomore Sydney Curry completed service on MLK Day by attending the Big Sunday’s 11th Annual MLK Day of Service Clothing Drive and Community Breakfast. Big Sunday is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote connection in communities through service. Archer’s Parents of Black Archer Students works alongside this organization. Curry became connected with this service opportunity through her mom, who is on the board of PBAS.

We got to go to 24th Street School, and then, there, they had a lot of activities that you could choose from,” Curry said. “They had things like art mosaics, greeting cards, [and] you had the ability to help assemble winter survival kits, and they also had painting of the different hallways to help beautify the school — that’s the thing I personally chose to do.”

Being able to give back on MLK Day, or just in general, is a really good way to recognize and have gratitude for things that you have.

— Zoe Griffin ('23)

Senior Zoe Griffin also completed service on MLK Day at the L.A. Works MLK Day of Service. L.A. Works is a nonprofit volunteer action center that aims to increase volunteering in the L.A. community, educate people on how to address large social issues and build the size of nonprofit organizations. Their MLK Day of Service took place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where King spoke in 1964 to 15,000 people living in Los Angeles addressing race relations and human dignity. Griffin said that along with her service, there were many different booths and stations to learn new things in the Coliseum.

“It was preparing food kits and emergency preparedness kits for people who are in those situations where they might not have access to a warm blanket or anything like that,” Griffin said. “That was really impactful for me, and there was a lot of stuff about veganism, and so it was really educational.” 

While Curry participated in service, she said felt connected to King’s overall values of equality, justice and giving back as a community. Curry said she understands the importance of doing service on MLK Day and believes she can have a larger impact on the community around her.

“His message was really big on the idea of service and serving your community because it’s something that everyone can do and something everyone should do,” Curry said. “The larger impact is super important … knowing that you had a hand in helping to beautify the school, and even doing things like the mosaic tiles is super amazing.” 

Griffin said she felt connected to what King fought for as she learned about addressing social issues and King’s value of giving back to people in need through service. Griffin reflected on the overall purpose of doing any type of service on MLK Day.

“I think that the reason why it’s so important to do [service] on MLK Day is because a lot of what he was fighting for, we have most of it, and it has been achieved to the extent that we’re able to reap the benefits of a lot of different things that we wouldn’t have been able to,” Griffin said. “Being able to give back on MLK Day, or just in general, is a really good way to recognize and have gratitude for things that you have.”