"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." Strength to Love, Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we've been celebrating the life of world hero Martin Luther King Jr. this month, I have been reflecting on his lasting impact. King's sermons, writings, and infamous "I Have a Dream" speech were more than inspirational and aspirational words. King took actions to bring his dreams to life and to make them a lasting reality. What better way to celebrate King's life than to make his holiday a day "on" instead of a day "off" – a day to be all in, a day of service, a day to deliver an act of kindness and do your part to make the world a better, more inclusive place. Through our acts, we can bring peace, friendship and kindness into the world, perpetuating King's dream and ensuring the lasting reality of the change he inspired.
There are many ways the Laurence community took action in King's honor. On campus, our 4th Grade students celebrated his life and impact, and performed at last Friday's assembly. The 4th Graders recited poems that they wrote, danced to Beyoncé's "Freedom," and sang "Let Freedom Ring," written by our music specialist, Lauren Bruns. Through the arts, our students were able to express their emotions about what they learned. See below for clips of the performance and interviews with some of our kids on NBC's* "California Live":
Over the holiday weekend, Laurence parent, Diana Brown, and faculty members, Cyntoria Lampkin and Claudia Cadena, traveled to one of our sister schools, the Sixto Osuna Matutina School in Villa Union, which is a small municipal within the city of Mazatlan in Mexico. They brought a letter from Laurence 4th Graders to their 6th grade class, and worked with the students to help them write back to our Laurence kids. During the visit, Brown, Lampkin and Cadena talked with the students about their lives, hobbies, and talents. "They really welcomed us," says Brown. Lampkin, who was originally scheduled to teach a dance lesson to the 6th graders, ended up teaching the entire school the routine. Some parents overheard the music, and came to enjoy. "It was truly an experience of a lifetime," says Cadena.
Back in Los Angeles, several Laurence families and alumni participated in a day of service to honor King through the organization Big Sunday. Front Office Coordinator, Maria Calvo, and her children, Joshua '20, Emily '16 and Dominique '13, donated and packed gently used clothing for distribution. They were delighted to see the Poland family along with former Laurence parent and trustee, Caron Bolton, participating in this event as well.
Laurence's celebration of King continues this month. Students are writing about their hopes and dreams for our world, along with concrete actions they can take to make those hopes and dreams come true. They will be affixing their writings to a "Messages of Hope" mural in our Secret Garden for our entire school to see.
King's messages of hope and lessons of peace give us inspiration all year long, and a day of service or an act of kindness to honor him feels especially appropriate.
*Thank you to Laurence parent and correspondent, Donna Tetreault, for the opportunity to be featured on NBC.