MLK Day Preview: Former Death Row Inmate to Address the Circle


Credit to Chloe Zheng ’23

On Jan. 17, the Groton community will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day with special events.

MLK Day activities are planned by members of the Cultural Alliance and its faculty sponsor, Associate Director of Admission Carolyn Chica. The Cultural Alliance is hosting American activist and author Anthony Ray Hinton, who has become well-known in recent years through his New York Times bestseller The Sun Does Shine about his decades-long experience as a wrongfully convicted death row inmate. Groton students may be familiar with Mr. Hinton as he was featured in True Justice, a documentary about the criminal justice system that Second, Third, and Fourth Formers watched on last year’s MLK Day.

Ms. Chica noted that Mr. Hinton’s message was “a lot about forgiveness and hope.” She added, “The leaders [of the Cultural Alliance] and I felt that having him speak was a good opportunity to build on past MLK days, and specifically on the faults of the criminal justice system.” 

After engaging with Mr. Hinton , students will participate in workshops led mostly by members of the Cultural Alliance and the Diversity and Inclusion Student Group. Ms. Chica said that “workshops are designed to give students a platform to shine a light on an issue that’s important to them or the community at large.” Workshops will touch on a wide variety of cultural identifiers like race, gender, and religion. Primarily discussion-based events, they are meant to “make people comfortable and build conversations around important issues,” according to Ms. Chica. 

Cultural Alliance head Amelia Lee ’22 encouraged workshop leaders “to think about the dinnertime conversations they have and tackle issues they are aware of but want to pay more attention to.” Ms. Chica noted the effect that social media has on students’ opinions: “you can even use TikTok to see what you’re interested in or what riles you up and use that to design a good workshop.”

Ms. Chica ultimately hopes that “the day will align with MLK’s values of diversity and inclusion, and it will be an important opportunity for student leaders to lead the community in important discussions.”