Ridgefield High School junior Lane Mudrock will be honored during this year’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration at the Ridgefield Playhouse Monday, Jan. 21.

Murdock, 16, helped launch the national school walkout movement following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018.

Fifteen years old at the time of the shooting, Murdock started a petition to the U.S. Senate and launched the nationwide protest against gun violence. The date she chose for the march was Friday, April 20 — the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. Murdock said it was important that students have a voice and not feel helpless in the wake of such a horrible catastrophe — again.

“If you can't vote, you don't have a lot of concrete power,” Lane said in an interview with CNN. “As a student, what do you have? What you have is your attendance in school, and there's power to that. Hey, if we can disrupt the national schedule of kids going to school and draw attention to this issue. Then that's a step closer to change.”

More than 150 member chapters of National School Walkout were formed around the country and her Twitter @schoolwalkoutUS gained more than 130,000 followers. The Twitter account now encourages people to vote and to have their voices be heard about important issues, including Gun Violence. Because of Lane’s actions, Gizmodo actually declared Ridgefield High School “ground zero for a national youth movement combating school gun violence.”

Lane said that she hopes to one day be a journalist.

Other honorees

The 23rd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration will take place Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. The Ridgefield Playhouse is located at 80 East Ridge Road.

In addition to honoring Murdock, the event will include performances by ACT of CT’s Junior Choir, Ridgefield A Better Chance, The Ridgefield Chorale, Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray, Kimberly Wilson and students from Keys, a non-profit organization that brings music education to underserved inner city children.  

The event, which was started 23 years ago by Ridgefield resident Mark Robinson and First Selectman Rudy Marconi has grown tremendously over the years.  

“We went from doing this in the basement of Town Hall and having a handful of people show up to being able to do this at The Ridgefield Playhouse and have approximately 250 people show up last year,” said Mr. Robinson, “What an amazing feat!”

For more information about the Martin Luther King, Jr. event, please call the box office at 203-438-5795 or visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org.