Convent of the Sacred Heart honored the memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week with a prayerful celebration at an all-school assembly featuring the music of the Gospel Knights of Concordia College and the Vision Steppers, teen dance troupe from Mount Vernon, N.Y.
“As we begin our prayerful celebration today of the life of an inspirational legacy of great peace activists, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi, let us also offer our prayers to God to support the spirit of all people who suffer through adversity,” said Head of School Pamela Juan Hayes.
The prayer service was part of a day-long observance of Martin Luther King Day that included a theatrical presentation to give students a glimpse into the lives of Mahatma Ghandi, the creator of a non-violent way of protesting against injustices, and Dr. King, who used this concept as a model for the struggles of people of color and the poor during the civil rights movement. Gandhi spent 20 years in South Africa working to fight discrimination. It was there that he created his concept of non-violence. Dr. King adopted it and is remembered as a resonant voice for freedom, justice and equality.
“They believed that the issues of poverty, racism and oppression were universal,” Mrs. Hayes told the students at the annual prayer service. “Their common understanding of the plight of the poor and their powerlessness will forever unite Dr. King and Ghandi in the struggle for freedom and justice for all.”
Students were challenged to think about the practice of non-violence during performances throughout the day of a new, two-man play, PeAcE Speaks, based on letters Dr. King and Ghandi wrote to various organizations and individuals. PeAcE Speaks juxtaposes the lives of these two men of different eras, who reached the same conclusion when confronting crisis, which is that non-violence was the critical “action” to take.
Actor Michael Green, who plays Dr. King, has received critical praise for his ongoing portrayal of Dr. King in Jeff Stetson’s The Meeting which has played venues across the tri-state area and nationally for the past 10 years, and for After Midnight!, Dr. King’s powerful rebuke to the war in Vietnam.
Actor and theater consultant Byron Saunders, who plays Gandhi, has many credits to his name and is currently working as an independent arts management consultant helping artists and arts organizations with grants administration, fund development, marketing, public relations, event planning, and capacity growth and development.