Groves students Morgan Henderson, Devon Roberts and Lauren Lucas speak during a Jan. 16 Martin Luther King Jr. assembly at Wylie E. Groves High School.

Groves students Morgan Henderson, Devon Roberts and Lauren Lucas speak during a Jan. 16 Martin Luther King Jr. assembly at Wylie E. Groves High School.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Lt. gov. asks local students, ‘What would Martin tweet?’

By: Linda Shepard | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 21, 2019

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BEVERLY HILLS — Martin Luther King Jr. would have embraced social media to spread his message of equality, said Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist Jan. 16 at Wylie E. Groves High School.

“I think he would have used this medium,” Gilchrist said. “Dr. King would tweet to get people to take action in their own communities — to make those places better places.”

Gilchrist was the keynote speaker at the school’s annual MLK assembly.

“My challenge to you,” he said to a packed auditorium of students and staffers, “is how can we use these platforms to make the world a better place? We need to use the tools at our disposal to impact the world.”

Gilchrist is the founding director of the University of Michigan Center for Social Media Responsibility. Raised in Detroit, Gilchrist studied computer engineering and computer science at U-M, where he graduated with honors in 2005.

After graduating, Gilchrist spent four years as a software engineer at Microsoft, then worked as a social media manager for the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign in Washington, D.C., where he helped launch a national text message program to recruit volunteers.   

He also served as the first-ever Detroit director of innovation and emerging technology, opening up the city’s public data and information and creating an app for Detroiters to report problems like broken fire hydrants and streetlights, as well as potholes.

“The message of unity, equality and fairness — I think (King) would use this medium,” Gilchrist said about social media.

“Dr. King knew the power of words,” Groves Principal Embekka Thompson said. “How will you use the power of words?” she asked her students.

The assembly included the Groves High School show choir’s performance of “Glory,” from the 2014 motion picture “Selma,” and a “Faces of Groves” slideshow.

Groves senior Peyton Capp said she enjoyed the assembly and the presentation by Gilchrist.

“It is a good yearly thing and a good way to get everyone together,” she said. “And it hypes us up about community service.”

A call to service from the Groves Experiential Education Department aims to engage the school’s staff and students in community service projects.

“No matter how old or young you may be, we at Groves take a moment each year to revisit the important things King said and did,” Groves senior Henry Van Faussien said. “We at Groves use this assembly to not only mark the national holiday, but to accomplish change.”

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