Annual MLK Workshops Move ‘From Awareness to Action’


Latin School of Chicago

In addition to a range of hands-on workshops, Latin’s annual MLK Day of Commemoration hosted speaker, author, lawyer, and activist Gyasi Ross.

Latin held its seventh annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Commemoration on January 18. This year’s theme, “From Awareness to Action,” inspired a range of workshops spanning nearly a full school day, and subjects ranged from promoting dignity in social media to self expression through the arts.

This was many students’ first day of workshops, and lots of them did not know what to expect.
Freshmen, many completely new to the MLK Day traditions at Latin, went into the day with varied expectations. However, this variation did not stop them from embracing the essence of the day.

Freshman James McMillan said he “learned a lot about the history of our country and a lot about persevering through life whilst enjoying it at the same time.”

Freshman Delfi Sola’s initial expectations for the day did not necessarily align with what was to come. Delfi said she “expected the day to be more MLK-related.”

Just as the 2023 workshops were the freshmen’s first, they were also the seniors’ last. Senior Phoebe Krueger said, “As someone who is a visual learner, the integration of more visual presentations made the day more enjoyable and engaging than in prior years.”

The myriad of available workshops gave every student an opportunity to pick what most interested them, learn something valuable, and also enjoy the day. Junior Coco Schuster said, “[I had] a really good time with the Big Apple workshop.” Big Apple, a dance style with close ties to a variety of Jazz steps, originated in an African American community in Columbia, South Carolina. In this workshop, dance teacher Nicolle Wood taught students a little bit of the unique style.

Not only did students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of workshops, but they were also given the opportunity to run them. For example, sophomores Quinn McDonough and Eva Lapiere ran a Neurodiversity workshop with Upper School history teacher Stephanie Stephens and Upper School Learning Specialist Brianna Malin. When Ms. Stephens and Ms. Malin gave Quinn the opportunity, Quinn said he “thought it would be kind of fun to talk about something that affects [him].”

Sophomore Arin Awalegaonkar also ran a workshop. He focused on the causes of aggression, which he had explored in an Independent Study Project (ISP) in Psychology during the first semester. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Eleannor Maajid, who sponsored Arin’s ISP, suggested he run the workshop and said that Arin was “eager to present [it] to his peers and friends.”

This year, MLK workshops seemed to have run smoother than ever. Senior Daniel Braun said he “thought [the workshops] were the most productive they’ve ever been.”