As we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and commemorate his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in our schools this month and next, let’s not miss the opportunity to educate students on his purpose and the meaning of his speech– Freedom, justice, and equality. Hearing recordings and seeing videos may simply not be enough for our younger students, who are very much out of touch with the reality that was segregation in the United States just decades ago. While we know that many students can recite phrases, if not paragraphs, from the speech, let’s ensure that they also get Dr. King’s gist of fairness and togetherness. Although the specific issues Dr. King sought to combat may not be as overt today, civil rights issues persist as civil liberties are still being denied every day in the United States. Facilitated discussions and guided reflections following readings and viewings of the speech could really help students process and make meaning of the words. Only then can they apply the message to contemporary civil rights issues and contribute to the comprehensive fulfillment of Dr. King’s notarial dream.
— Pierre Lucien, first year corps member of the ATT Team at South High School