Residents of the College Park Westchester Park neighborhood witnessed a peaceful demonstration today by the entire student body from Friends Community School. A video (below) captures the spirit of the annual event.
The students were singing freedom songs and carrying signs they had made calling for justice, equality, and nonviolence. Their voices rang out on an afternoon when few others were braving the cold. “Love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend,” read more than one of the students’ handmade signs, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the spirit of the 1963 Children’s March, the march is an annual tradition at the Quaker school, timed to follow conversations about civil rights when the school honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Younger and older students at FCS, paired as Meeting Partners, have studied Dr. King, discussed his ideas and their applications to today, and made the signs they carried together.
Earlier in the day, FCS students in Kindergarten through 8th grade met for an assembly to share poems and songs related to Dr. King’s work, including original poems written by the students in honor of the event. Four posters lined the room, blank other than their titles, "Nonviolence," "Peace," "Equality," and "Freedom”—elements of the message in Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. After the assembly, students filled the posters with words that speak to these values.
Celebrating Dr. King’s legacy is a tradition in the 30-year history of FCS, rooted in the historic relationship Quakers held with Dr. King from the mid-1950s until his death in 1968. Quakers helped arrange the pilgrimage that Dr. King and Coretta Scott King took to India to learn more about the work of the non-violent leader Mahatma Gandhi. The American Friends Service Committee nominated Dr. King for the Nobel Peace Prize, which he received in 1964.
Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School 5901 Westchester Park Drive College Park, Maryland 20740 301-441-2100