MLK 2021

MLK 2021
Posted on 01/16/2021
Dear LS Students, Families and Staff,

As a country, we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr, who was born on January 15, 1929 this Monday. Following his assassination in 1968 this special day in his honor has been commemorated each year across many parts of our country and formally enacted at the federal level by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Dr. King is known for his leadership and advocacy during the Civil Rights Movement and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

He walked among us 6 decades ago but his advocacy and words continue to inspire and guide us. As we recall the violent imagery we have seen over and over these past years across all parts of our country incited by racial injustice and most recently the week before last at our country’s Capitol, imagine a single man standing before and addressing multitudes not unlike what we are seeing today. People say things are better now than they were before. With that in mind who among us knows anyone today who is courageous enough to do what he did over and over in his life? Moreover, who among us could speak with the eloquence he had in the face of such rife?

The words of Dr. King go to the heart of things and emanate from a solid belief in a value system that we say we share. The preamble to the Declaration of Independence states, “…all men are created equal … with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. The following Dr. King quote has always been my favorite because it speaks to an intrinsic confidence in the human race. I share this belief, too. Growing up and for a long time I would look to this quote and believe things will be better in the long run.

“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

I still share this confidence in the human race. It’s not hard for me to retain this confidence because I have built my life surrounded by students. But where are we on that long arc? Do you agree we should be further along? Honestly, I thought we would be after all this time. Perhaps I’ve been unconsciously waiting for the next Dr. King to appear. And perhaps we’ve taken for granted that in the universe of humanity an eternal gift was given and we haven’t taken fully advantage of it?

For this year I’ve been thinking about this quote, “the time is always right to do what is right….”

Part of Dr. King’s teachings was that the power was in the people. One can advocate for change but change won’t happen if you also don’t make the change within yourself. Passively waiting doesn’t work at all. Everyone needs to take part. Here is a video that helps to illustrate the point.

We the Possibility: It’s Helping Time - News - Harvard Business School

So what could we each do right now? Some of us have been doing a lot. Many of us could do more. Perhaps if you need a place to start, it can be just with you, yourself?

Misconceptions based on what we see but don’t really know continue to fuel racism. At the heart of misconceptions are perceptions we have based on social context that we don’t consciously realize we’ve embedded into our day-to-day outlook. We don’t even know we have these biases hard wired into our psyche. They affect how we see things and people, which may not be at all right and cause undue harm. Waiting for the right moment or a single change agent to tell us what to do is not likely and may never happen. Change because of a single event or relying on a single change agent also seems unlikely to be effective. It’s become clear that no sweeping change for the better will occur unless we each take some responsibility to be a part of the change. It can start with reflecting on your own self. Here is a link to an Implicit Bias assessment that you can do on your own and consider the results within the privacy of your own head. A lot of people have taken it and perhaps you already have. It will provide you a reflection of yourself which most have found interesting and insightful.

I also want to share with you a community initiative to make the documentary: I’m Not Racist…Am I? available for a local showing to take place 2/27 and 3/1. At this time you cannot view the full documentary without the arrangement of a special screening. Lincoln and Sudbury community groups have provided the funding to facilitate the screening and follow up discussions. The initiative has been co-lead and inspired by LS parents Judy Merra and Pamela Jones who were inspired by their own children. Thank you! I encourage your attention and participation. This program will also be incorporated into school programs later this school year. It has been long in planning and we are excited that this opportunity for a community wide screening is about to come to fruition!

In closing, for a bit of music I share a link to the Boston Children’s Chorus performance, Born On The Water, that will stream on Sunday at 4 pm. Tickets are free but you must reserve them.

In appreciation of Dr. King and your continued belief and support in working together and actively toward racial justice,

Bella Wong