MLK students believe in dream
and King’s ideals can live on
I did not fully appreciate Dr. Martin Luther King’s contribution to this country until I taught at MLK Elementary School in the Fresno Unified School District.
Through the emphasis this school provides celebrating MLK’s birthday, I came to understand the risk this man took, the power of his speeches, and the true impact his shortened life had on this country. What I realize most, however, is that his ideals can live on, even in this generation of gangs, shootings and violence.
“I Have a Dream” is still a possibility! It takes each and every one of us, regardless of color, to make a difference in our little corner of the world, wherever that may be. We all need to make the effort to live up to the character MLK envisioned for each individual in this country.
It’s not too late — begin today to walk that mile in someone else’s shoes and to make Martin Luther King’s dream a reality. Each day the students at MLK Elementary recite the Dream pledge: D-Dare to dream, R-Respect self and others, E-Exceptional Effort, A-Attitude matters, M-Make your dreams come true.
These kids believe it, and so can we.
Make a career of humanity; commit yourself to equal rights
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. always wondered why he had to move to the back of the bus, use a different drinking fountain, and the books in his school were old and tattered. Nothing was said when he was told it is because he was colored. He was “nothing” to a certain class of people. But he is important to me and all other African-Americans today. Now every time I ride the bus, study in a Gifted and Talented Education school, and get new things, I thank him.
I agree with Dr. King, “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” It means it is our job to treat others equally and respect them as humans and not outsiders. He followed his words, “If a man has not discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
He was assassinated, but conquered segregation. That something to die for was his “dream.” His “I Have a Dream” speech inspired African-Americans to go and fight for what they believe in.
Ryan Scott, age 10
Why I march for King
I grew up in the 1960s in a small Kansas town, not in the South but close enough to have had a segregated public pool in then-recent memory. Regular summer family camping trips took us all over the country, including the South with those peculiar “whites” and “coloreds” drinking fountains.
My father, a minister and dean of students at the local small liberal arts college, went with carloads of students into the southern states to participate in the civil rights marches.
The day of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, my father was attending a church conference committee meeting back East and was hastily sent to Memphis, Tennessee, a representative and symbol of support in those traumatic times. He left an essay chronicling his experiences and interactions that day — a minority white man in a sea of black.
When I participate in a commemorative march, it is of course primarily for Dr. King, but also for my father.