A Guide to the MLK Day Speakers


LH Staff

Art by Estie Dillard.

Mariam Keita and Cecile Bendera

In celebration of the life and accomplishments of the influential Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., City High will be having a slew of guest speakers every period (besides fourth) on Friday, January 11th in homage. Every year, MLK Day occurs on the Monday closest to King’s birthday, January 15th. This year the 15th is itself a Monday, so the holiday will take place on that day.

Although sessions are now full, with around 150 people slated to attend each one, students had the option to sign out of class and attend a session for the duration of one class period. They were able to choose both which speakers to see and how many sessions to sign up for.

But who are these people that everyone is so eager to see? Ask no more. The speakers themselves range from entrepreneurs to college students, motivational speakers to community activists. Here is your guide to the MLK Day speakers by period.

Period One:
Akwi Nji- Storytelling: Spoken Word, Inclusion & Diversity

Nji is a writer, artist, and producer, and poet located in Cedar Rapids. Last year, she produced the spoken word and dance show Youth Rising in collaboration with Leslie Nolte.

Period Two:
Sam Taylor- Privilege, Responsibility, and Classroom Life
Raquisha Harrington- Make Your Own Path

Taylor is an educator at West Branch private school Scattergood Friends School and Farm. He will be speaking on responsibilities held by educators and students alike.

Harrington is an Iowa City Community School District district employee. For the last few years, she has been responsible for planning the district’s MLK day activities, including the day of service that is held at Grant Wood Elementary. She is also involved in G! World among other things.

Period Three:
Fred Newell- Dreams Are Possible

Newell is the Student Advisory Director at City High School as well as being the founder of the Dream Center. Newell also coaches several youth basketball teams in the Iowa City Area.  

Period Five:
Ryan Mosser- Academic Opportunities for Minority Students Seeking College

Mosser is an employee for Equal Opportunity Schools, a company that is currently working with City High to improve minority representation in accelerated courses. He has also spent time living in Chile.

Period Six:
City High Alumni Student Panel- Minority Student College Success Stories

These former City High students will be returning to the hallways that they once walked to share stories about how life turned out after graduation.

Period Seven:
Henri Harper- “Focus on Your Future”- Success at School

Henri Harper is Iowa City police community outreach officer who used to be an educator at City High school. Harper is one  of the founders  of a program called FasTrac. FasTrac’s aim is to help student put their futures in to focus and exceed in education.