Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The SFS community came together for a day of service and learning.

To mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Sidwell Friends community gathered for the third-annual MLK Day of Service and Learning. Organized by the Parents of Black Students in collaboration with Parents of Asian Students, Parents of Latino Students, and the Arts, Quaker Life, and Equity, Justice, and Community committees, this year’s event focused on “Building a Just Community through Water and Literacy Access.”

Attendees started the morning at a Meeting for Learning, where panelists discussed how access to clean water and literacy are still problems in the United States—problems that almost exclusively plague poor communities of color.

Naabia Ofosu-Amaah ’03, who works on water access in Africa for the Nature Conservancy, and Chris Lemieux, director of education at the Anacostia Watershed Society, urged attendees not to take their clean water for granted and to be good environmental stewards of the resource. The flooding that devastated Houston after Hurricane Harvey could absolutely happen in this area, said Chris, so understanding how we receive water and how infrastructure affects that is vital.

The literacy discussion focused on bringing books, poetry, and education to the prison population. Members of the Free Minds Book Club, who had themselves been incarcerated, discussed their mission to empower men in the DC jail system to tell—and come to terms with—their stories through poetry. They were joined by Susan Orlins (P ’01, ’06) and Gerald Anderson, who co-wrote Still Standing, Gerald’s story about surviving Hurricane Katrina and a life in and out of jail before moving to DC.

After meeting, attendees could participate in a wide variety of service activities, including making casseroles for Martha’s Table and Central Union Mission or creating bookmarks for Reading Partners and Kid Power. They also had the option of taking a deeper dive into literacy and water access by attending talks about each with some of the earlier panelists.

Check out the album on SmugMug for photos from the day’s events.

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