As parents, many of us can recall endless hours telling our kids stories. There were stories of superheroes, real-life heroes, and even tales of family members who have done heroic acts. Stories are important. They talk about conflict and often the resolution. In honoring Dr. King’s legacy, I hope that we continue to examine the story of The Civil Rights movement and its connection to the continued struggles today.
In Rebekah Gienapp’s article, “Seven Ways to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy with Children,” she encourages parents to discuss the implications of the “I Have a Dream” speech then and now. Gienapp writes, “Having just experienced the largest protests in U.S. history, which were fueled by police brutality against Black Americans, we owe it to our children — and to ourselves — to go deeper in our exploration of King’s work.” An integral part of the work is discussing inequality with our children and within our communities.
The reality is, Dr. King’s dream is still a work in progress. In a world where racism and fear for safety still exist, the importance of continuing conversations within our communities, schools, and especially with our children is part of the necessary work towards change. So as parents, educating ourselves and our children on stories of the multitude of people who fought and those who continue to fight for social justice is necessary. We are teaching our children powerful counter-narratives by keeping these stories alive. Unfortunately, many in our society believe Dr. King’s dream has become a reality, and the fight for social justice is no longer necessary. A Counter-narrative shares the truth that many people continue to feel oppression. This narrative supports those working to change components in this system for the good of all people.
Just as in a puzzle, counter-narratives and education are only one piece. With information and knowledge, we can continue to have challenging conversations about racism, social justice, and making positive changes in our world.
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