In his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” MLK stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." This quote was the guiding light for activities, conversations, and lessons at CCES on Tuesday, January 19th in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Melanie Gordon, Diversity and Inclusion Director, planned opportunities for every person on campus to honor those who stood or stand for justice. “On October 26th, 1967, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia about considering your life’s blueprint,” Gordon wrote to faculty and staff. “Three points he made to this group of young people were to believe in your own dignity, be determined to seek excellence, and commit to love and justice. Through the words of Dr. King, his good friend, the poet Langston Hughes, and the reflections of our students, CCES will honor Dr. King’s legacy of justice.”
Each division explored people committed to justice, whether they are famous, family, local, or global. In the Lower School, students watched a video prepared especially for them by Upper School students. After the video, classes shared their thoughts and ideas with each other about the video, brainstormed other words for “justice”, shared situations that illustrate justice, impartiality, peace, and fairness to all, and reflected on people they know or have read about who they consider to be committed to justice, peace, and treating people fairly.
In the Middle School, morning CavTime activities were devoted to teaching students about how they can stand up for justice and be change makers in our world. Students learned how change makers have paved the way throughout the years, and how they have the potential to affect our society in a positive way.
In Upper School CavBlock, students watched another version of the MLK Day video, which was both student-led and produced. It opened with MLK’s favorite hymn, “Amazing Grace” performed by vocalist Johalinx Meralus, followed by a narrative on “Why we Celebrate” his life and work by Ayana Richburg, then poetry by Langston Hughes and quotes from Dr. King’s speech to students at Barratt Junior High School, narrated by US and MS students.
As a community, we will all eventually participate in an art installation that honors Dr. King and all people devoted to the cause of justice. The art installation uses stones to honor others, an idea steeped in ancient traditions all over the world. Each student and faculty member will take a moment to think about a person or persons respected for their work in standing for justice. Each person will write that person’s name on a stone, and go in a small group to the trail leading to the Wetlands, stop and say a prayer for the people that we honor, and “install” the stone somewhere along the path. Each department will choose when to install their stones, but stones, sharpies, a Prayer, a quote, and directions were delivered school-wide on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday’s activities were a true demonstration of the power of love, and the installation of stones, once complete, will be a beautiful reminder for years to come.
Click here to watch the Middle School and Upper School MLK Video.
PRAYER over the STONES
in every generation you raise up leaders for us,
those who call forth what is highest and best in the human family:
We thank you, Lord, for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
and for all the champions of justice we remember today.
May their examples give each of us courage to do our part in helping to create a more just world,
a more loving world, a kinder world, one day, one step at a time.
In the name of Jesus, we pray.