Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. day. My fourth grade students worked on a writing prompt in literacy about a dream they have that would make the world a better place in honor of Dr. King. Today we worked on editing their final drafts and I enjoyed hearing about their dreams. Some students wrote about cleaning up the litter and pollution in Denver. Other students wrote about ending bullying. I felt that Dr. King would have enjoyed their essays too.
I was lucky to be a part of writing an African-American History book the summer between my fourth and fifth grade year when I was in elementary school. I knew a little about Martin Luther King Jr before this writing experience, but not much. That summer I made new friends, became a minority for a small amount of time, made sweet potato pie, worked hard to be a better writer and discovered the heroism and inspiration of Dr. King.
Almost fifteen years later, I became a member of The Romero Troupe. During a play about Labor History in our country, I learned even more about Dr. King. I gained an even deeper respect and admiration for him and his work. Memories from our “I Am a Man” scene with remain one of my proudest moments on stage for the rest of my life.
When President Obama was elected into office, I remember watching the inauguration and my thoughts went to Martin Luther King Jr and all that had changed since his tragic death. Over the past two years, I have been saddened and dismayed by the outright prejudice expressed by people I know and civil servants in our government. I wonder how much progress we have really made.
I am encouraged by Dr. King’s words, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I am also encouraged by a class of fourth graders who understand Martin Luther King Jr had a dream and the importance of making the world around them better.