Today Secretary Arne Duncan joined the Reverend Al Sharpton and other education advocates to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., and promote equity in education.
Speaking to more than 1,100 students in the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Duncan challenged them to take advantage of the achievements of Dr. King and his struggle for justice and equality. Education is “the civil rights issue of our generation,” he said. He encouraged students to expect the best from themselves – to reach high and achieve great things.
Click here for an accessible version of the video.
What did the students think?
It was “very educational,” said a 7th grader at JC Young Middle School. “Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., paved the road and we have to walk it.”
Duncan’s words, a classmate said, helped her realize that “Education is a precious thing. Don’t take it for granted.”
Students from the Ivy Preparatory Charter School were amazed that so many adults thought that the students were so important. “We didn’t appreciate how much they care,” one student said.
“The speakers at the MLK Birthday Program were astounding,” said an 11th grader at Maynard Jackson High School. “They have encouraged me to help my peers understand that we are responsible for our own futures.”
“Secretary Duncan encouraged me to stay in school, “a Booker T. Washington High School student said, “and do my best to reach for the stars.”
Today’s gathering came at the beginning of a weekend of events and remembrance for Dr. King. For more information about today’s event, please see the press release.