After months of planning–including weekly 7:30AM meetings with a dedicated group of WHS students–we were very excited to bring our 3rd annual MLK Day of Service to the community in person. Of course, the pandemic had other plans, and within just a few weeks, we had pivoted, re-imagined, and reframed the entire event as a virtual experience. With very little idea how it would actually all come together, we were thrilled when over 100 community logged in to find out how they could advocate, inspire, learn, and give in the spirit of Dr. King’s teachings.
The morning began with introductions by NFSJ Executive Director Liora Norwich and Director of Service Learning at WPS Anne Marie Edenhofner. Then, the crowd heard vocal performances by WHS Junior and NFSJ Intern Ayesha Ghosh and WHS Senior Sophie Wilson. Those assembled also listened in as WHS Juniors Aashna Miharia and Arya Ramachandran read their essays, which won our inaugural MLK Day of Service Essay Contest. You can read them here.
After a land acknowledgement read by NFSJ Intern Maddie Syed, a brief overview of this year’s service project benefitting La Colaborativa and an introduction to anti-racism legislation put forth by Winchester’s own Senator Jason Lewis, participants were able to choose which breakout room they would like to attend. The choices included one organized by NFSJ committee members and volunteers, a creative kids social justice room, a room with a letter-writing advocacy campaign organized by the WHS Latin Club, and a virtual introduction to some WHS clubs. Among the spotlighted activities were the Humanae Art Project, ways to engage with the Winchester Interfaith Resettlement Partnership, and a Speak Up pledge against bullying and discrimination for both adults and kids. You can also view the slides presented in the NFSJ room here.
While we hope to be able to gather in person for our 2023 MLK Day of Service, we were grateful for all those who attended this year’s virtual festivities, as well as the many students and volunteers who helped to make it happen.