Words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Last week I traveled to Washington, DC for a family vacation. While we were there we visited the Washington DC Martin Luther King National Memorial, which opened since our last trip to DC. As I walked through the memorial, I paid close attention to the quotations on the inscription wall. One of the quotes spoke to me and got me thinking about its meaning in 1963 and its meaning in today’s world. Here’s a photograph of that quote from the inscription wall:
Dr. King’s words came during the civil rights movement in the ’60′s. Nearly fifty years later, I think it’s safe to say that these words can guide us in other aspects of American life. I paused and took a picture of this part of the inscription wall because Dr. King’s words made me think about what’s happening in the American education system today. Things are pretty bleak. You know the story: budget cuts, overcrowded classrooms, riffing, emphasis on test scores… However, we cannot lose hope. Doing so would be unfair to do to the children in our presence.
When we see things happening our our districts, our states, and our country, it’s incumbent upon us to use our voices to speak up (especially when the things that are happening are harmful to children’s educational lives, self-esteem, etc.). It’s easy to be the person who agrees with everyone else. What’s harder is speaking up when we know our opinions will cause dissonance. In addition, making a choice to speak up is a risk, especially when there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. I’m not saying teachers should become insubordinate to their administrators. Rather, I hope Dr. King’s words will inspire you to be a voice of reason, even when it’s unpopular, at staff and school board meetings. If each of us uses our voice in a way that will persuade others to think about kids first, then perhaps we will can all start to bring about positive changes in our corners of the world.
Are these words from Dr. King inspirational to you too? Please share what they’re making you think about.