It has been a lovely rainy summer for us. We didn’t get to the pool quite as much as we would have liked, but we made the best of it. Atticus switched to a big bed and stopped using his pacifier and got potty trained, and he seems like such a kid all of a sudden. He’s back to school on Monday, and is excited to see his teachers and his friends.
One of my favorite things about Atticus’s school is that the students are diverse. Like a lot of white people, I am not totally sure how to talk to my kid about race and privilege, so I am happy that he is in a school where everyone doesn’t look exactly like he does because it leads to natural (awkward) conversations. He’s too young to talk about Trayvon Martin, but he’s old enough to notice differences and to comment on them. We try to take those opportunities to talk about the things that make us all the same.
As we anticipate the anniversary of the March on Washington, we have talked about Dr. King and his dream. This spring I stood with my students on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and thought about how far we have come, but since then I stood with Atticus in Raleigh and listened to Dr. Barber and was reminded of how far we have to go. Dr. Barber echoed the words of Dr. King and spoke about the power of working together, praying together, struggling together, and going to jail together.
When we read I Have A Dream, which features Dr. King’s words beautifully illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Atticus liked the pictures of Dr. King and he liked the pictures of DC, but what he really liked was the page where black and white children are holding hands. They’re playing ring-a-round-the-rosie! he said happily. That’s right, I said, when you and your friends do that, you are continuing the dream.
Other books we have used to talk with Atticus about Civil Rights:
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. by Jean Marzollo, J. Brian Pinkney
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, Bryan Collier
Freedom on the Menu by Carole Boston Weatherford
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney
The Twitter feed @Todayin1963 is a great resource that I have checked several times this summer.
And we will be attending a rally on August 28th. If you are in North Carolina, you should join us in your district, or find one in your area.
What will you be doing to commemorate the March on Washington?
My copy of I Have A Dream was provided by Random House.