By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Students, community leaders and local officials gathered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 16 to celebrate his work and also showcase diversity in Dearborn.
The second annual march started at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., and progressed to Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Ave. and back to the Ford Center for a ceremony.
Students from Dearborn, Edsel Ford, Fordson and Divine Child high schools students aimed to share the messages of King and show how they relate to the community in which they live.
Edsel Ford junior Jasmine Little used a quote from King’s speech in Montgomery, Ala., in 1965 to express her thoughts.
“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience,” she read.
Little recognized that Dearborn is not just realizing King’s dream that “little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white boys and girls,” but that Arabs, Asian, Hispanic, Latino boys and girls and anyone in between will join hands.
“We are all created equal no matter what anyone tries to say in order to separate us,” she said. “Everyone is welcome and is important to create a united community.”
Accompanying the students on the march were Mayor John O’Reilly Jr., Police Chief Ronald Haddad, Council President Susan Dabaja and Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Glenn Maleyko.
“As I wear this Dearborn Unified hockey sweater which represents all the high schools coming together to play hockey, I can’t help but think of the way our students in the district did the same today,” Maleyko said. “I’m very proud of our students for learning from Martin Luther King Jr’s. legacy and using it to highlight the diversity and culture we have in Dearborn.”
He also quoted King, saying, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope,” during his speech to the crowd.
O’Reilly said the future of the city is bright because of the students who will continue to embrace the diverse community.
“Our community has such rich culture and diversity which stems for hundreds of years,” he said to the more than 100 attendees. “When we work together there is no dream any of us cannot achieve just as King preached.”
The group has created social media accounts including Twitter and Instagram to share the march with posts at @TheRealDearborn.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)