Thank you to Lower School Colleagues Jonathan Edmonds, Sarah Gordon, Doris Rodriguez-Graber, Laleña Garcia, and Amelia Jenison for sharing this reflection.
This past Wednesday, the Lower School came together for our annual gathering to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other changemakers. Over the years, the Lower School has built and evolved the traditions of this special moment to be together in community, to learn the rich history of changemakers, and to inspire us to all stand up for the change we believe in.
Before this year’s gathering, each Lower School classroom chose and learned about a special changemaker guest. This year’s guests included Malala Yousafzai, Autumn Peltier, Harvey Milk, and our own colleague, Laleña Garcia. Each classroom beautifully decorated a framed portrait of their guest to share.
After gathering with the song “We Shall Overcome” in English and Spanish, we began welcoming our changemaker guests. Each year the guests represent a wide variety of activists who have fought for racial, gender, and environmental justice and equality. We first honored Dr. King, and then named and welcomed together each classroom’s guests to bring their spirit and work into our space. Each grade level led us in singing freedom and justice songs including “We Shall Not Be Moved” and “Singing for Our Lives.” Then, together we read aloud a section of Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, and watched a film clip of Dr. King delivering this speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. We ended with more singing, as we left marching out, in the spirit of protests and demonstrations for change!
After the Gathering, some classrooms had time for the children to reflect on their experience. Here is some of what they shared:
- “I felt happy when we all said ‘I have a dream today.’”
- “I noticed that all the songs had emotion.”
- “All the songs had something about freedom in them.”
- “I liked when we all sang together as a community.”
- “I liked watching Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech.”
- “It was fun walking together.”
- “I liked seeing all the changemakers.”
- “I saw another class invited Malala Yousafzai. We learned about her too!”
- I liked sitting and singing and all the singing I heard. That march we did.
- I liked all of it!
- It was interesting that KB’s changemaker was one of the KC teachers.
- I liked the speech on the screen. I liked the music at the beginning.
- I like the ending part when we marched.