In February 2021, Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Michigan, held its first Annual MLK Jr. Writing Contest in honor of Black History Month. Students were asked to respond to the essential question, “Where do you stand in times of challenge and controversy?” This question was inspired by Dr. King’s own words: “The ultimate measure of a [person] is not where [they] stand in moments of comfort and convenience but where [they] stand at times of challenge and controversy.” Two students were chosen as winners.
By Carrington Wash, Class of 2024
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American minister and a civil rights activist who advocated for justice and equality for all people. Dr. King wanted the citizens of our nation and all over the world to understand the power and beauty of social equality for all people. A man of God, Dr. King promoted his vision of equality through peace and nonviolence. A rising leader, Dr. King used his oratorical skills to organize and unify people of all races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds to combat racism and social inequality.
As I reflect on Dr. King’s words, I am inspired and know the power of leadership through God’s word. My faith in God and His word have allowed me to be resilient and find peace during challenges.
As a student, Dr. King’s words inspire me through the challenges of COVID-19 and the transition to virtual learning at home. Online learning is a new journey for me. I knew how to be a successful student at school, but how would this look full time at home? During challenging times, I stand on God’s promises to see me through. One of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Like Dr. King’s word, God’s word gives me the power to believe in myself and therefore see challenges as new opportunities to learn and grow. My transition to online learning has allowed me to become more knowledgeable regarding technology and empowered me as a student.
My moral identity continues to be defined as I grow and meet more people in a variety of situations. My values of honesty, kindness and fairness were instilled in me as a young child, and I continue to develop these characteristics as I grow as a Christian. Unfortunately, I have experienced situations where people have been in church and school and have not been kind to one another. My moral identity has often led me to find peace by myself or with a small group of people, because I will not be influenced by challenges and negativity. I stand on God’s promises of kindness and peace. Another one of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 34:14, “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an advocate for peace and kindness, I always strive to be kind to people and seek peace.
During the summer of 2020, social injustice became a wound that would not heal. There were marches and protests that occurred across the country to combat the evil ways of racism. Often, as I watched the news, I thought I was a teenager in 1960, but I was actually trying to make sense of my reality in 2020. Once again, I had to stand on God’s promises of peace and comfort to see me through. I found joy talking to my maternal grandmother, an African-American woman who was raised in the segregated South. My grandmother gave me wisdom, through shared experiences, to understand how God’s hope will see one through situations that are unjust and unfair. My grandmother shared her favorite Bible verse with me, Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” My hope through God’s Word gives me peace and understanding just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words do.
Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I stand for peace, hope and kindness during challenging times and controversy. Ultimately, God’s word is the key that gives me the strength to walk with God and leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.