This Friday, January 12, approximately 800 people — mostly middle schoolers — will march quietly through Maplewood Village for the 18th Annual Michele Turner Martin Luther King Jr. Silent Peace March.
The march was started by Maplewood Middle School sixth grade teacher Richard Palmgren as a way to have students reflect upon the life and work of King — “a man who was committed to fighting nonviolently for equality and peace.” Several years ago, Palmgren explained to Village Green, “Initiated in January 2001, the MLK Silent Peace March is designed to both replicate the marches for equality of the 1960s and to make a profound statement that the fight for equality is still not over. The silence of 800 middle schoolers marching through Maplewood Village makes a very ‘loud’ statement about Dr. King’s dream of unity and equality.”
In an email, the South Orange-Maplewood School District added, “The March is in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and achievements. This unique silent march should help people reflect upon a man who was committed to fighting nonviolently for equality and peace. His vision of America is indeed responsible for the diversity we so richly enjoy in the Maplewood community and school. We are not only honoring the man, but his message as well.”
In 2011, the march was renamed in honor of Michele Turner, a paraprofessional who worked at MMS for many years. Turner passed away in September 2010.
The march will begin on the sidewalks surrounding MMS, go through Maplewood Village, and return back to the front of the school.
The march will take place during second period — from 9:17 to 10:07 a.m.