HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — People in the Midstate are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, including a group of students in Harrisburg.
Students from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School held their own march from their school to city hall, ending at the government building named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“What better way to show appreciation and tribute to what Dr. King and other civil rights activists did for our country,” 3rd grade teacher JoAnn Baldwin said.
Baldwin said students need to know this history.
“If we can set the tone for them and make this all that they know…To me, I don’t think Harrisburg can help but be better,” she said.
She added it is these children who will carry the movement forward.
Baldwin said she hopes “that they start asking questions. ‘What can we do?'”
For some students, this was an introduction to the era.
I’ve really never learned a lot about Martin Luther King Jr. so I thought it was super interesting,” said 3rd grade student Ella Arthun said.
For others, it was exposure to the damages of injustice — and what needs to be done to correct the problem.
“If you abuse them their whole life, they’re going to think abuse is normal,” said 3rd grader Tyler James Anderson.
Baldwin said action is now more important than ever.
“To me in some instances, it’s gone backward,” she said.
She pointed to a racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, that killed three people.
“I take offense to that kind of mistreatment,” she said.
Baldwin’s students are learning her lesson.
“You should always be kind to people even when they’re mean to you because being kind is the right thing,” Arthun said.
Baldwin said these children represent how Martin Luther King’s dream will come true, quoting his speech 60 years ago: “Thank God almighty we are free at last.”
Monday, August 28, was also the first day of school for St. Stephen’s, so this march was an ambitious plan, but Baldwin said this sets the tone for the rest of the year and this anniversary was too important to leave unmarked.