Remembering MLK: Boston Children’s Chorus members reflect on King’s legacy
In celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., members of the Boston Children’s Chorus shared their reflections on what his legacy means to them today.
“Every time I attend a rehearsal of the Boston Children’s Chorus, I reflect on how much the racial demographic in the room looks like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. It is a stark difference from the classrooms and other community spaces for children in this region.
Great visionaries see through extraordinary lenses, and when BCC’s founder Hubie Jones, a Boston social worker and community activist, envisioned the chorus, he created a space that gathers young people from all walks of life to lift their voice in song, making meaningful connections about social justice and social inquiry between their peers, their communities and the world around them. Now in its 21st year, BCC continuously uplifts the values of diversity, empathy and harmony. Values that were true to Dr. King.
Two generations removed from his historic “I Have a Dream Speech,” BCC’s singers reflect on the personal and collective meaning of Dr. King today. They also align Dr. King’s legacy with other social justice movements such as for LGBTQIA+ rights and equality. This alignment is significant to BCC’s season theme, True Colors, which uplifts the contributions and narratives of LGBTQIA+ populations.” — Akiba Abaka, inaugural director of good trouble, Boston Children’s Chorus
Human rights for everyone
“In a time when the world is more divided than ever before, we must look to our ancestors for guidance. [We should remember people] such as Bayard Rustin, a Black openly gay man who was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and Marsha P. Johnson, a Black transgender activist, performer and prominent figure in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Thanks to Rustin, the idea of pacifism was adopted by Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. Marsha P. Johnson’s legacy reminds me to be proud of my identity as a bisexual Latina. Like Johnson did, I must continue the fight for human rights for everyone.” — Ella
“I think that Dr. King (and other social justice heroes of the time) represents a fundamental shift in American society. It’s like a gradient or bridge between things that were centuries ago and things within the past 100 years. As a Black woman, the fight for equality means so much to me, especially growing up in a time where awareness about societal issues feels more important than anything.” — Phaedra
“Looking at the intersectionality between race and queerness, we can look towards Marsha P. Johnson, a pivotal figure in LGBTQ+ history. Johnson’s experiences underscored the profound challenges of navigating a world that marginalized her for both her racial identity and her queer identity. Johnson’s legacy resonates as a reminder of the ongoing struggle against intersecting forms of discrimination and the importance of amplifying the voices of those at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, fueling a broader movement toward equality and social justice for all.” — JeanCaleb
“I spend every MLK Day with the Boston Children’s Chorus. Talking about Dr. King’s legacy makes me think of the audience at Symphony Hall. Every year, hundreds of people gather to celebrate the life of one person. That alone proves the extraordinary influence and inspiration that Dr. King was and continues to be. His legacy reminds me of the profound power of community, words and music.” — Liana
Love is the solution
“Dr. King once said, “Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of the problems of our world.” This quote took me by surprise, given that it is not the stereotypical approach to the fight for freedom. Dr. King’s nonviolent mission to achieve equal rights was counterintuitive, yet it worked. For this reason, MLK’s legacy continues with me to this day and is a constant reminder of the importance of peace and love for all.” — Neve
Words, not violence
“Dr. King’s legacy changed so many lives, including mine. He impacted the world greatly and so much would be different if he didn’t lead the Civil Rights Movement. The way he fought for human rights by always using words instead of violence makes me view the world so much differently. He caused so much change with just his strong, impactful words.” — Karina
Ally in the fight
“The legacy of Dr. MLK Jr. continues as a powerful voice against racism and for civil rights. He was also an ally in the fight against antisemitism.” — Mara
Unity, equality, love
“Dr. King’s legacy allows me to reflect on the profound lessons of our shared history. Together, we honor the resilience of those who paved the way and amplify their voices, ensuring that every note played and every word sung resounds with the spirit of unity, equality and love.” — Parker