Students at A.P. Solis Middle School in Donna participated in the Second Annual Silent Civil Rights March in front of the campus in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The event was organized by the school’s History Club members and their sponsors. Students from each grade level took turns walking for 10 minutes and carrying posters symbolizing “cloud of dreams” with civil rights and goal messages from the children. The signs were hung outside along the campus fence.
“Being a history teacher, I wanted to show the students first-hand what it’s like and what it means to protest in a non-violent way,” 8th grade history teacher and club sponsor David Castaneda said. “We also want the children to understand that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not only a day set aside to recognize King’s civil rights work on behalf of African-Americans but all Americans.”
The posters represent the student’s voice. “We want students to know that they have a voice even at this age,” 7th grade history teacher and club sponsor Leticia Mora said. “Our history club teaches the students that their voice is powerful and that they can make changes at their campus if they work hard and set their minds to it.”
King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. Eighth grade students and history club members Maria Gonzalez and Joselyn Dominguez appreciate King’s service.
“Martin Luther King Jr. fought very hard for everyone to have equal rights and be treated the same,” Gonzalez said. “Even if people come from different races, they are still the same. We should all be united.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a different color, different race, or rich or poor. Everybody should be treated equally,” Dominguez said. “We also learned that everybody has goals and values of their own.”
Gonzalez carried a poster that read “We’re all humans. We all have dreams no matter our skin color.” Dominguez’ sign read “No more sides, let’s be united.”
Club sponsors hope other campuses within the district follow their lead and hold similar events and form history clubs for the benefit of their students.