Building on the success and impact of previous years, the BFS celebrations of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took on added significance and dimension in 2015.
For the 4th annual schoolwide “Simple and Powerful” Celebration, excerpts from Dr. King’s speech, “Where Do We Go from Here” were broadcast in and around all the school buildings on Friday, Jan. 16. The speech, delivered on August 16, 1967 at the 11th annual SCLC Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, was chosen to enhance our discussion of Dr. King’s message of justice and equality for all.
The BFS Diversity Office, led by Orinthia Swindell, coordinates the “Simple and Powerful” event; students and faculty were encouraged, after listening, to consider using the following questions as points for discussion:
- What is Dr. King referring to when he says, “America, you must be born again?”
- What does Dr. King mean when he says, “Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity”?
- What does he believe is the potential of human power?
Middle and Upper School students held collections during the week of Jan. 12, also coordinated by the BFS Diversity Office, which looked beyond the words of Dr. King’s dream to the current state of affairs in our society today. Community members were asked to reflect upon the treatment of all people and to examine the ways in which we can work collectively as well as individually to bring about changes that will enable people to feel empowered, validated, visible and connected. During the collections, excerpts from the film, The Mighty Times Children’s March, (available on Vimeo) were shown to students and faculty. Middle and Upper School students also shared stories about their experiences in the recent student led protests and city wide marches.
The Lower School held its annual Dr. King assembly by adding to and enhancing previous traditions. Each grade sang a freedom and justice song, and everyone joined together for a choral reading of an excerpt Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Each grade also welcomed a guest, a change-maker (such as Bayard Rustin, Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson, Maya Angelou, and Ella Baker) to join the circle honoring Dr. King. A 23-minute video of this assembly is available on YouTube.
All six preschool classes continued their tradition of marching from the second floor down to the Pearl Street lobby for their annual protest march, reminding the grown-ups assembled – with their handmade protest signs – to “change bad rules,” “love one another,” “stop fighting,” and “be fair,” among many similar sentiments. The group also sang several songs, including “This Little Light of Mine” and “Doctor King.”