Friday, January 16, 2009

i have a dream

on august 28, 1963, dr. martin luther king gave his famous sixteen minutes and twenty-eight second speech on the steps of the lincoln memorial. it was forty years before my first year teaching.

that year, i saw the students self-segregating, as was the case with the community it seemed. long bred hatreds and distrusts has unconsciously worked their way into a younger generation. a pocket of white girls over here, a pocket of black girls over here, a handful of colorblind students starting to break the trend. as the years passed, most of them became colorblind, at least in choosing their friends. i was able to have serious discussions about race relations and history with them. i was often surprised by the poignant responses i got out of the blue with students that made painfully personal connections to the troubles of the jim crow south.

this year, with older students, the poignant thoughts continue. i asked my students to expand upon and revise dr. king's dream today. it's been nearly 46 years since his speech. much has been done, but i see the hope in the younger generation to continue to live out dr. king's words. the common thread running through their speeches were attitudes of peace, acceptance, tolerance, love, and kindness. the broad palette of my students makes me ever hopeful that the progress will continue.

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