MLK Day Commemoration

MLK Day Commemoration

On January 16, Cultural Diversity Director Liz Warren and members of Suffield’s Students of Color group shared essays, poems, reflections, videos, and musical performances with the community to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Liz Warren opened this week’s chapel, saying, “While much has been accomplished in the name of equality and justice, we as a society still have a long road to go... Drawn from personal reflections, students will share hopes, dreams, and their own lived experiences as they relate to race, stereotypes, and acceptance. Pushed out of their comfort zones, they’re sharing their heart with you.”

As one of the contributors to the day, in an original piece entitled “BLACK,” Diana Baffor ’25 [stage name beanie baby] rapped, “Cause I am a Black girl in the states / Who has a big dreams and things to change / I want to be a soccer player one day / I don’t want that girl staring at me across / The room when we are in history class / Taking about the slave trade / Or picking on you cause your accent ain’t the same / Well, this accent tells a story you don’t know about / It tells me how to find my way home / How to speak a language ancient and so old.”

In another original offering by Chastity Blair ’24 called “The Womanist Divine,” she wrote, “I have a dream that one day the media, the world, the systemic ideals of society will see / Black women as swan princesses / Nubian goddesses / Bold, breathtaking, blissful queens with beauty like gilded bodices / Because Black Girl Magic is more than a hashtag / It’s a movement and a promise.”

Ezra Mendes ’26 wrote and shared, “Everybody has got somethin’ they want off their chest, that they’ve been oppressed / And since the very beginning they have always tried their best / But oh well, guess I’m depressed / Themselves, that’s all they got left / Cuz wide eyes and potential is all a brother got.”

Adrianna Bailey-Stewart ’26 wrote her poem “Lockdown” for the day, saying, “I look back at the time lost / I look back at the high cost / I look back at shackles placed on tight / I look back and say damn, this wasn’t right / I remember the pain like it was yesterday / I feel the separation every day / The time was taken away / The lives were taken away / And I feel betrayed.”

In her poem, Mari McCarthy ’26 wrote, “I’m tired of looking the other way and having to say / “It’s just skin color, Mari, it’s not that big of a deal” / But it is a big deal / This disease cannot be cured until we accept the fact it is here now just as much as ever / Are you willing to accept that? / Will you help find the cure?”

Isabel Rodriguez ’25 also shared an original poem with the community, stating, “I want this to shake up your ground the way earthquakes shake and tear apart my island / I want this to be a reminder that although all the Taínos are gone, their descendants still live / Because I am constantly reminded, when I wake up and look in the mirror / All of the racist comments, the hatred, the discrimination my people face / And we still stand, on a shaking ground.”

Excerpts of speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. were also shared by Chidinma Esielem ’23, as was a performance of “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo by Natziri Martinez ’23 which was the culmination of this powerful, reflective event. 

Additional participants included Ngoni Maodzwa ’23, Jayson Mack ’23, Azerionna Crudup ’25, and Keyvanna Bennett ’24.

To watch the full chapel, view our video online.