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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Awesome MLK Tribute from High Rocks

High Rocks for Girls is a wonderful, non-profit organization that I've had the pleasure to learn about and support. Their mission statement follows:

The mission of the High Rocks is to support and strengthen young West Virginia women from all walks of life. Our purpose is to educate, empower and inspire girls, giving them the confidence to lead active lives and work toward the long-term betterment of our community. We believe that by investing in girls, we are creating a strong, vibrant, participatory community for all of us; we believe we are investing in the economic, social, intellectual, and democratic basis of our future.

On Martin Luther King Day, the group and its participants sent out this sensational tribute. I think it is unique, rich and creative as all get-out! Posted below is the transcript from their live performance of their MLK tribute. (I wish I had been there to witness it!) This is so inspiring to me about all that is right with today's youth!

Martin Luther King, Jr Day
January 21, 2008
High Rocks for Girls Presentation at the Lewisburg WV rally and march
The theme for this year was “Nonviolence” and focused on MLK’s “I have a Dream” speech.

Haley: Teenagers live at one of the frontlines of intolerance, one where race, class, and gender discrimination takes a raw form--in the cafeteria, on school buses, and in home room. Before it becomes quietly institutionalized or disguised as something else, we see discrimination -- up close and personal -- it’s unmistakable racial slurs, blatant sexual harassment, and threatening notes left on a gay student's locker.

Courtney: My fellow classmates, my friends, my teachers, my neighbors, there is so much violence that goes on within the walls of our schools. We are losing the battle being fought against us: the battle of violence and the way it is just accepted. So many students are made fun of and threatened over their differences. You tell a teacher or staff about someone harassing you and threatening you and you never see anything really being done about it. We people have to live with discrimination.

While the gun threat this year at our school was a very real danger the little things are just as bad, if not worse. I have friends who have rarely been in an argument without getting into fist fights, other friends are being put in the hospital with head trauma after being hit with a lunch tray. If teachers aren’t leaving class to break up fights between students some are bringing their own arguments into the class instead of teaching us the lesson.

So yes, stuff like this has always been a problem but has it been to this extent? My mom thinks school is how it used to be when she was in school. I keep telling her you don’t understand. It is almost as if education doesn’t matter anymore, as if violence has swallowed it whole. What are we willing to do to make a difference?


Miriah: These are Martin Luther King Jr’s six Principles of Nonviolence. We would like to remind you of them today.

Shay: Principle 1: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
All girls: We are brave
Kelsea L: Principle 2: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
All girls: We hold out our hands.
Josie: Principle 3: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.
All girls: We keep our eye on the real enemy.
Amy: Principle 4: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform
All girls: Good can come of the things that hurt us.
Chelsea W: Principle 5: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
All girls: We fill our hearts with love.
Amanda: Principle 6: Nonviolence believes the universe is on the side of justice.
All girls: We have faith.


Makaila: Now we want everyone in the whole audience to repeat after us. Ready?
All girls with the audience:
We are brave (make them start again if it’s not loud enough)
We hold out our hands
We keep our eye on the real enemy.
Good can come of the things that hurt us.
We fill our hearts with love.
We have faith.


Ashley S: I LOVE the idea of a non-violent world! And I think anything is possible so a nonviolent world is completely possible. I think a non-violent world would be so great in so many ways but I also feel like if people like myself had never experienced violence the way I did that I wouldn’t feel so strongly about getting good grades and having fun at college and finding and becoming my own person. And never putting anyone through what I went through. I also feel like if people hadn’t been through such hard times like MLK that there wouldn’t be nearly as many people to stand up for what they believe IN so strongly!

Bree: Dear Dr. Martin Luther King Junior,
I am writing this letter to you today to get you caught up on some stuff. What you did during the Civil Rights Movement was awesome. It helps make people think that maybe everyone is equal. Now days we all go to the same school. We can sit anywhere we want. We are united in many ways. Some things you may not know is that today has changed, but in a different way than you maybe would have thought. People are still judgmental except this time it’s not just race, it’s gender and social status, religion, and what you wear. I think today is just as bad as it was back then. I think you would be very disappointed and try to start changing the world again. Being a teenager these days isn’t that easy either. We worry about what we eat, how we look, are we safe, is someone going to beat me, should I tell the world I’m gay, and so on. Life is tough sometimes and I don’t think it will get any easier, but I guess it’s just one step at a time. Sometimes I feel the world should just realize we are all humans and we are all equal. And once in a while, I feel a moment of hope.


Ashley McF: A moment of hope: When I came to High Rocks I felt welcome as soon as I set foot on the ground. All of them were so caring. It gave me a chance to say “Hey I’m like everyone else here. I usually don’t fit in to most places especially when it’s the first time, but the people here don’t care what you look like, how you dress, or if you’re rich or poor. This gives me hope that one day the world could be like this.

Adreanna: Another moment of hope: I came to this MLK Day march in Lewisburg last year. Everyone was so happy to see each other out on this day. As soon as I saw all the people and started meeting them I knew this was a place for everyone. Even though some of us weren’t black we still wanted to celebrate this wonderful thing this man did. This also gave me hope that one day everyone will be equal.

Heather T: And even when it’s not easy at first, sometimes you can find a moment when we people change, a moment of hope: I went to an immigration rights rally in Tennessee. When I first got there I was scared out of my mind. My group was one of the few white people and it felt like the Latino and African-American kids were giving us looks like we shouldn’t be there because it wasn’t about us – like they were looking down on us. I really thought we should just leave and go home. But then they split us into different little groups and we made up random songs and moved around. That was the beginning of us bonding. By the time we left, I knew we were all connected, all the same, just different colors and different personalities.

Miriah: So from every mountainside let freedom ring.

Amy: So let freedom ring in our high school cafeteria,

Kelsey C: Let freedom ring in the halls when we go to our lockers.

Rebecka: Let freedom ring when we meet somebody different.

Chelsea W: Let freedom’s ring resound with joy.

Miriah: Let us fill our hearts with hope.

Amanda: Let us hold fast to our dreams.


All: Happy Martin Luther King Junior Day!

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1 Comments:

Blogger jenniferwood said...

I have worked with some of the Highrocks staff before and they are amazing. They have a huge impact through the youth through the little things they do every day. Help/encouragement with homework, a helping hand, a gentle ear, or just someone that the girls can count on. This is all on top of the other programs they provide for the youth involved.

Kudos to the wonderful people at Highrocks and the amazing girls in the program!

3:46 PM

 

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