“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider.”
This quote from Dr. King’s letter from the Birmingham Jail reminds us that we ALL need to be involved in the search for justice.
Now more than ever do these words ring true. In the last two years, we witnessed horrific hate crimes: Sikhs were gunned down while at worship, a Navajo developmentally disabled man had a Swastika branded on his body, and a racist hate crime in Norway left 69 youth, 8 adults dead and 300 injured. The national coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported that in 2011, the LGBTQ community experienced the highest number of hate crimes in 14 years. FBI statistics show that anti-Latino hate crimes against Latinos in the US increased by nearly 40 percent from 2003 to 2007.
At Not In Our School, we seek to be proactive. We want to ensure that young people are not bullied for being different. We teach bystanders to be upstanders in the face of intolerance. We provide tools for teachers help their students learn to speak up when phrases like “That’s so gay” and “Retard” are bandied about. We promote discussions that bridge differences.
Often parents report that every single year on the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday, their children read the “I Have a Dream Speech.” NIOS offers exciting MLK curriculum that focuses on taking action.
Check out the NIOS short film collection with lesson guides: Embracing the Dream: Lessons from the Not In Our Town Movement that offers students living proof that change is happening—town by town, school by school.
The kit includes four individual films. Each film is preceded by individual perspectives on Martin Luther King Jr. legacy today. You may also download the Embracing the Dream discussion guide, which is useful to spark discussion in your classroom, boardroom or lunchroom.