By Gary Stern, COO and Director of Grades 3-6
On Monday, January 16th, our nation will celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Dr. King inspired the United States to live up to the true meaning of its creed outlined in the Declaration of Independence, that all men and women are created equal and entitled to the inalienable rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." During his historic "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington, Dr. King envisioned a day when all people would ultimately be judged not by the color of their skin but by the "content of their character." Sixty years after Dr. King echoed these profound words, we should embrace the opportunity, individually and collectively as a school community, to further our resolve and commitment in our nation, our communities, and ourselves to the ongoing pursuit of guaranteeing equality and justice for all.
As we embark upon 2023 with eternal hope for a brighter tomorrow, Dr. King's words and actions resonate with profound significance. We are fortunate to reside in Los Angeles, among the most diverse, multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual cities in the world. Laurence is an interconnected community that celebrates the many cultures and traditions of all students and families. We are an incredibly diverse and inclusive mosaic of cultures, ethnicities, languages, and backgrounds. As a community, we embrace every aspect of who we are both individually and collectively. We are all united by a core of common values and strive to develop students who:
- embody kindness, empathy and gratitude
- value and seek out multiple perspectives
- demonstrate a commitment to honesty and integrity
- actively pursue equity and justice
- adopt a solution-minded approach to problems; and
- possess a sharpened moral compass to guide them forward.
Above all, we are united in the words of Dr. King by the “content of our character.”
Throughout the week, students learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. and celebrated the civil rights leader’s life. All grade levels incorporated read alouds such as Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen, and Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton. Second graders learned about what Dr. King did beyond his “I Have a Dream” speech and discussed his fight against unjust laws. Our 5th graders used a storyboard to express the main ideas in Dr. King’s “Mountaintop” speech and applied them in discussion about the ways humans respond in the face of injustice. They will also reflect on their visions for the kind of world in which they would like to live.