“Everybody can help.”
That’s the powerful message that third-grader Dylan Jalal took away from a Black History Month Assembly, held at High Plains Elementary on Feb. 11. The assembly featured music that was an integral part of the Civil Rights movement and focused on the life and legacy of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I liked the music and I learned a lot about Dr. King,” Jalal said after the assembly. He and his classmates were captivated by the presentation, which was led by Denver resident Dr. Biff Gore. The professional musician brought a bit of celebrity to the assembly, since he was a contestant on season six of the hit television show, ‘The Voice.’ Gore sang and played guitar, accompanied by local saxophonist Phil Henke. They involved the students in the program by encouraging them to clap with the rhythm of the music, to stand and sway and to sing along when they knew the words.
In a powerful voice, reminiscent of Dr. King’s, Gore recited portions of some of King’s most famous speeches. They included his iconic ‘I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, in Washington D.C., and King’s ‘Mountaintop’ sermon, delivered on April 3, 1968, the evening before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. Most importantly, Gore talked with the students about Dr. King’s commitment to non-violent protest and the pursuit of justice and equality for all people.
“I hope the kids walk away with a better understanding of how to love one another, how to serve one another,” Gore said. “When they see injustices, when they see kids being bullied, when they see people being taken advantage of, they’ll rise up and learn that they have a voice.”
Third-grader Diyari Kigoro heard that message loud and clear and believes that he and other High Plains students will do their part to make their world a better place.
“They can help their community,” Kigoro explained. “If they see something that’s not right, they can do something about it.”
High Plains Principal Linda Maccagnan said helping students learn more about the Civil Rights movement as well as the power they have to make a positive difference in their world, was the main purpose of the assembly.
“It was great for our students to experience where those things came from and connect to a message today around taking care of each other and just really being there for each other,” she said.