Here's a little background on Will and his curiosity about Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights (aside from being born into a family of crazy white liberals). A few years back we were all hanging out on the couch on a lazy Sunday watching a kid's video on VHS. Mike and I dozed while Will watched the movie. When the tape ended the VCR shut off and the TV was tuned to PBS. We woke up from our Sunday afternoon nap to find Will attentively watching Eyes on the Prize. The was probably 3 at the time. In the weeks that followed he kept asking when we were going to watch "that Martin Luther King movie" again.
Fast forward a few years and a lot has happened. We elected our first black president, who happened to be the family favorite. I've attended a series of trainings through my job about the importance of talking about race and the effort to eliminate racial predictability in achievement data. Will started school at one of the most diverse elementary schools in Rochester.
Toward the end of December a flyer came home outlining the school's plan for a Martin Luther King, Jr celebration in January and invited students to participate in a poster and essay contest. Being a teacher mom, we got out our picture books about MLK and Rosa Parks. We read them and then I asked Will about his dream (required for poster contest). He said his dream was for "it to never go back to that way of whites only again" and then he drew this poster and submitted it for the contest.
In the past few weeks we've had many conversations in the car about MLK as they have been talking a lot about this in school. He tells me he gets sad when they talk about it, "mostly about the dead part" and asks if we can go see Martin Luther King, Jr's grave. Early last week I learned that Will's poster had been chosen as one of the winners and that he would be recognized at the all-school assembly. Aside from being a very proud mom, I was excited for Will to be recognized for something that has been a real interest of his.
Here are some shots from the assembly:
Here he is with the principal reading "Everyone Should Share"
Will and his classmates with his award winning poster (that my mom refers to as "Everyone should share and have jazz hands").