“These speeches were written more than 50 years apart yet contain common themes. We discussed, ‘Why is that?’ They were chosen to provide support for the “We Must Keep Moving” idea. Additionally, they are excellent examples of powerful speeches given by two extremely important African American figures in our history.”The lesson continued through an art display, “We Must Keep Moving.” Students traced each of their feet on paper. On one foot, students illustrated a benefit they experience as a result of the Civil Rights movement. The other foot illustrated personal action to ensure the work keeps moving forward. The footprints will line the halls of the third floor to symbolize the steps being taken to move ahead. How do you find inspiration to illustrate justice and equality? Nakara Trimble used Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax.” She explained the story of the Lorax and the Truffula trees. “He was trying to preserve the last tree,” she said. “I think it represents togetherness.” Susan Gibbs created her designs based on friendships with others. “Some people are more comfortable with other races. But those friends could be ignored if it weren’t for the Civil Rights movement.” “I’m writing an ‘I am’ poem,” said Charlie Anderson. She will write “I am…” then fill in the blanks. She was busy drawing lines to guide her work, not quite yet ready to write her thoughts. “If I didn’t have my friends, I wouldn’t be anywhere,” said Halley Stein. She explained that her sketch would have the word 'friends' overlapping and would be colored in black, white and gray. Carlos Brickhouse was still waiting for inspiration. “I haven’t thought about it yet,” he said. He wasn’t the only one. Many students were still thinking through their ideas.
Kenzie noted common themes among the illustrations.“For the first foot, students’ common themes were related to the friends they have and the opportunity to attend a school with a diverse population. On the second foot, common themes were standing up for each other, promoting diversity in their community, and understanding and appreciating differences.” The lesson led to other conversations about social justice. “A common discussion topic brought up by students as a result of this lesson was about bullying in all forms, as that directly relates to things they may experience or hear about more frequently. Some students also brought up issues regarding homelessness, poverty and other related social problems,” said Kenzie. “Social justice lessons are important for students because they open up conversations that are not always easy, but are extremely necessary. Understanding diversity, tolerance, justice and respect for differences is essential for our students, inspiring them to be both caring and critical,” she continued. “We learn to embrace and appreciate our differences while also learning to ask the tough questions. Social justice conversations push students to become good listeners, critical thinkers and active participants in their communities.”
[Articles and Photography by Nez Savala of Confluence]