The entire BFS community took part in the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s “Simple and Powerful” tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. The children and faculty of the Preschool added another dimension to the tribute that day by engaging in a peaceful march from their second floor classrooms to the Pearl Street lobby. Each holding banners, posters, and cardboard lights, they sang the songs “Dr. King” and “This Little Light of Mine” in honor of the Pulitzer Peace Prize-winning civil rights leader.
On Friday, Jan. 19, the Lower School (K-grade 4) takes up the banner of Dr. King at their annual Martin Luther King and Changemakers assembly. The students see a video of the original “I Have A Dream” speech from 1963 and perform a choral reading of the speech. They sing freedom songs and symbolically ask an historical changemaker to be their guest at the gathering
The “Simple and Powerful” theme was created more than six years ago as an all-school celebration of Dr. King’s achievements, ongoing presence, and continued influence in our society. Everyone in the school community is asked to participate and reflect on the accomplishments and sacrifices made throughout the civil rights movement. In the first year of this presentation, Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech was played on the video screens in the school lobbies, and everyone was asked to enter the school in silence to honor Dr. King. Excerpts from Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” have also been shown. This year, as in last year, Dr. King’s speech, “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint,” was played throughout the day.
“This speech was chosen because of the powerful message contained within and also because Dr King delivered it at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967,” said Orinthia Swindell, Director of Equity and Inclusion. “As I reflect on the speech as it relates to the work of the Office of Equity & Inclusion over the past six years, the message falls in alignment with the manner in which students, faculty and staff are encouraged to:
-Critically think about society and the world that we live in.
-Critically think about and analyze their individual experiences as well as the experiences of others. Keeping in mind that various experiences/realities co-exist with a focus on the role that identity plays in these experiences/realities.
-Critically think about and analyze ways in which they can foster change within the world that creates equity for everyone.”
What Is Your Life’s Blueprint? Excerpts
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I want to ask you a question, and that is: What is in your life’s blueprint?
Whenever a building is constructed, you usually have an architect who draws a blueprint, and that blueprint serves as the pattern, as the guide, and a building is not well erected without a good, solid blueprint.
Now each of you is in the process of building the structure of your lives, and the question is whether you have a proper, a solid and a sound blueprint.
I want to suggest some of the things that should begin your life’s blueprint. Number one in your life’s blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you’re nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.
Secondly, in your life’s blueprint you must have as the basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor. You’re going to be deciding as the days, as the years unfold what you will do in life — what your life’s work will be…Set out to do it well.
And I say to you, my young friends, doors are opening to you doors of opportunities that were not open to your mothers and your fathers — and the great challenge facing you is to be ready to enter these doors as they open.
This hasn’t always been true — but it will become increasingly true, and so I would urge you to study hard, to burn the midnight oil; I would say to you, don’t drop out of school. I understand all the sociological reasons, but I urge you that in spite of your economic plight, in spite of the situation that you’re forced to live in — stay in school.
And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better..
If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.
And finally, in your life’s blueprint must be a commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love and justice. Don’t allow anybody to pull you so low as to make you hate them. Don’t allow anybody to cause you to lose your self respect to the point that you do not struggle for justice….Let us keep going toward the goal of selfhood, to the realization of the dream of brotherhood and toward the realization of the dream of understanding good will.
We must keep moving, we must keep going. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.