Every year our children look forward to the M.L.K. parade that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We live in the historic area in our city that host the parade literally down our neighborhood’s block. We bring our lawn chairs, blankets when needed, and plastic bags to fill to the rim with the candy that is always thrown out by the participants. The parade is as diverse as Dr. King’s dream. It’s like for a brief moment under the racial tension and recent political climate I see the hope of the dream in our children’s eyes. I can see smiling faces, a since of harmony, and the enjoyment of our community before walking back in our home to see what’s on FOX News. I think the vision of Dr. King’s ” I Have A Dream” speech is still wanted by so many in our country. If we take a hard look back at some of the most recent events in our nation regarding mass shootings, police brutality, the 2016 Presidential campaign, and our society’s cultural change within “peaceful” protesting the dream is needed.
Visiting The King Center
My mother and brother live in Atlanta, Georgia where the King Center is located. We often as a family take a trip to the King Center to allow the children to see that Dr.King was not this untouchable superhero, but he was simply a man who took the courage along with so many others to fight for change in our country. We had an opportunity to tour inside his home on one occasion. My son said ” Mama, his home is built like our home!” Dr. Kings birth home does favor that our home built in a traditional 2 story make. I watch them glaze at the pictures in museum. I can see some pictures raise their eyebrows, a few give them chills, and some I see put a smile on their faces. It’s important for me to share with them the Freedom Riders that marched in understanding that it was a rainbow of people marching for injustice, equality , better opportunities, peace, love, and hope. The twins like to walk through the exhibit touching the hands of the statues resembling those who marched. We all enjoy walking to see who’s footprints can match ours by various leaders, civil rights activists, celebrities through the walk way entrance in the plaza. The King Center is filled with people from all nationalities and backgrounds coming together to take a glimpse at the life of Dr. King, his beautiful wife Coretta, and to look back at our nation’s history.
Teaching The Dream
I enjoy sharing through teaching and mentorship Dr.King’s dream. I’ve shared in song, story time, creative writing, and small group discussion about Dr. King’s life with many of the youth I’ve served. Recently, we shared our own “I Have Dream” speeches in which each student / mentee shared their dream for themselves, their schools, and their community. I heard everything from”I dream that there will be no more homework” to”I dream for a world where there will be no more bullies” from my classes.
Here are some activities that you may do with your family, students, or youth group throughout the year or for M.L. K. Day to share in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:
- Create” A Dream Jar” in which everyone can write down the dreams and hopes they have for themselves and the world around them.
- Plan a visit to see the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. I promise you will leave inspired.
- Have a mock speech ” I Have A Dream” where creatively all can share openly dreams, hopes, and the changes they want to see in the world and the world around you.
- Visit the library to pick out books related to Dr. King, Coretta Scott King, the civil rights movement, and other historical figures within this important time within our country’s history.
- Bake a cake together in honor of Dr. King. Share in the moment with playing Stevie Wonder’s ” Happy Birthday” song.
- Search online for various videos and commentary kid friendly or age appropriate on the life and legacy of Dr. King.
- Research and see what activities in your community are available in celebration for Dr. King’s legacy.
Learn More About Dr. King and Enjoy Storytime with Ms. Mini