Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
As we celebrate your life and legacy today, we remember to continue to spread love and build power. #MLKDay- Black Lives Matter
 
 
Activist Linda Sarsour on Dr. King: “Every year, I find it necessary to remind us of the true and authentic Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is not a historical figure left for you to mold in the way that suits your own personal views. He was a flawed leader who committed himself to uplifting Black People and alleviate suffering of the poor. He died with few friends. He was ostracized and marginalized when he decided to unequivocally stand up against the war in Vietnam, decry capitalism and militarism. He criticized white moderates and pointed out that they were often the obstacles to transformative change and progress because they were more committed to order than justice.
 
He was labeled an extremist, a communist, the organizations he organized with were blacklisted by the US Government. Then FBI Director J Edgar Hoover called him the “most dangerous Negro in America,” he wrote us a letter from the Birmingham Jail. White organizations and donors stripped him of funding when they didn’t approve of his message and evolution in understanding the roots of oppression. When he ventured out of the box they saw fit for him – they jumped ship leaving the civil rights movement to struggle – and STILL THEY SURVIVED.
 
Ahistorical posts about MLK serve to rewrite history in a way that hurts and decontextualizes the movements we are a part of today. It’s a new day but the same old cycle of whitewashing history.
I honor the imperfect, anti-war, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, Black Christian Baptist Minister, radical revolutionary Dr. King. The Dr. King that 66% of Americans at the time DID NOT agree with. I honor a man who was murdered at the hands of white supremacy that is flourishing today – 53 years after his assassination.
 
That’s my Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Hope he’s yours.”
 
Let’s invite young children into conversations, celebrations and actions  valuing Black lives, non-violence and justice. We recently got to celebrate the major victory of a mostly female, Black-led movement to overturn voter suppression in Georgia, and thereby elect the first Black senator and Jewish senator to Georgia! This week we celebrate another profound victory: the first woman, first Black and first South Asian will be sworn into office as the Vice President  by Judge Sonia Sotomayer, the first Puerto Rican woman to serve as a judge in the U.S. federal court. 
 
Here’s a glimpse into last year’s classroom activities related to Martin Luther King Jr. and Ruby Bridges: 

 

Cultural Appropriation in Halloween Costumes…Scary!

“One of the most visible forms of cultural appropriation can be found in Halloween costumes… scary! It is important to keep in mind that culture is NOT a costume. There are many unintended negative effects certain costumes can have. They reduce cultural differences to jokes or stereotypes, perpetuate cultural misinformation, and historical inaccuracies. So before you purchase a costume with a label such as “cultural, ethnic, or tribal” ask yourself- is this cultural appropriation? How can you raise awareness surrounding the racist stereotypes such costumes promote?

     
 Let’s all Have a happy and #culturalappropriation-free Halloween “🎃– Anti-racist Art Teachers Facebook group

Visit and Save RBG Street Art

 

A couple of week’s ago we included an invitation to go check out “All Rise”– the street art of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg with boxing gloves!  (NE 27th and NE Bryce in Portland).We encouraged families to use the visit as an opportunity to talk about RBG’s legacy, leave flowers and/or bring chalk to add your own message. A few families explored and added their own messages. 

   

“Together, we stood before this massive, stunning portrayal of Ruth, briefly discussed her remarkable life and talked about what various features of the painting might be conveying, including her boxing gloves and the scales of justice on her earrings. Then, my oldest turned to me and said, ‘thank you for bringing us here, Mom’ and my heart melted. After that, we added our own chalk art and messages inspired by Ruth to the others nearby. We wrote, ‘RBG taught me that I can do it!’ and ‘I Am Strong.’ It was an incredibly powerful and empowering experience.” – Meghan Goldman, current HFP parent.
 
There has been a call to remove this creative expression honoring RBG’s legacy. 
 
Call Portland City  Commissioner Chloe Eudaly to voice support of the mural and oppose the call  to having it removed.  503-823-4682

Sesame Street Special: Let’s Stand Up to Racism

“Sesame Workshop’s longstanding commitment to modeling inclusivity and addressing complex social issues continues this week with ‘The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special.’

Designed as a co-viewing experience for children and families, the special will address racism and help children learn ways to recognize and stand up to it. It will stream on HBO Max and PBS KIDS starting, Thursday, October 15, and debut on PBS stations the same day. The special will re-air throughout October and November on PBS stations and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel (check local listings).

“The Power of We” features Elmo and Abby Cadabby, who are joined by 6-year-old Muppet Gabrielle and her cousin, 8-year-old Tamir, as they learn how to become “upstanders” to unfair treatment based on skin – or fur – color. Current and former Sesame Street cast members Alan, Charlie, Chris, and Gordon will also take part in the special alongside celebrity and musical guests Yara Shahidi, Christopher Jackson, and Andra Day.

We hope you will join us for ‘The Power of We,’ which is designed for families of all shapes, sizes, and colors. To continue meaningful conversations about racism with children in your life, check out our family viewing guide at SesameStreet.org/PowerofWe.

If you have any questions about ‘The Power of We’ or any Sesame Workshop programming, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

-Your friends at Sesame Workshop”

Let’s Rise, Lead & Protect the Young

The most important and revolutionary work in this world is building, repairing and caring for our relationships – caring for the young, old, healthy & sick. The kind of work that has been primarily women’s work, and because of capitalism and male domination, it’s been undervalued, undermined and made invisible. It’s becoming more and more clear that caring for the planet and healing racial and class injustice in our communities depends on the hundreds of small things we do as parents, friends, coworkers and neighbors.” – Kathryn Gardner,  RSMT,  re-evaluation counselor.

Here’s a timely poem by the esteemed novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist, Alice Walker.

Calling All Grandmothers

We have to live
differently

or we
will die
in the same

old ways.

Therefore
I call on all Grand Mothers
everywhere
on the planet
to rise
and take your place
in the leadership
of the world

Come out
of the kitchen
out of the
fields
out of the
beauty parlors
out of the
television

Step forward
& assume
the role
for which
you were
created:
To lead humanity
to health, happiness
& sanity.

I call on
all the
Grand Mothers
of Earth
& every person
who possesses
the Grand Mother
spirit
of respect for
life
&
protection of
the young
to rise
& lead.
The life of
our species
depends
on it.

& I call on all men
of Earth
to gracefully
and
gratefully

stand aside
& let them
(let us)
do so.