Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gerra Gistand: Winner Of 13th Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition

video
from youtube

Fourth grader Gerra Gistand, a student at MacGregor Elementary School in Houston ISD, presents the winning speech from the 13th Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition held Jan. 16, 2009, at Ant...
Fourth grader Gerra Gistand, a student at MacGregor Elementary School in Houston ISD, presents the winning speech from the 13th Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition held Jan. 16, 2009, at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Held days before the historic inauguration of President Obama, the competition challenged students to focus on the question If Dr. King were alive today, what do you think he would say about current events? Presented in Dallas and Houston by the Texas-based law firm Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, the competition commemorates the life of Dr. King and is designed to highlight the cultural diversity of the community while recognizing and encouraging the writing and presentation skills of elementary school students.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wangari Maathai And Black History Month


from Jess Washington at the Associated Press who did an article on
Time to end Black History Month?

Should Black History Month itself fade into history? No way. An excerpt from the story about a teacher that I'm proud to know:

At Daniel Warren Elementary in Mamaroneck, N.Y., kindergarten teacher Jane Schumer has dedicated many hours this year to the story of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for leading a movement that planted millions of trees in Africa.
Schumer connected Maathai's story to Obama, who planted a tree in her program and whose father was from Kenya. She connected Maathai to Martin Luther King Jr., who like Maathai was jailed for fighting injustice.
Schumer doesn't have any special black history plans for February.
"It can't be contrived," says Schumer. "It's a way of thinking, a way of life ... to me, the whole year has built up to this month ... the emphasis we have is what people would want to accomplish with Black History Month."
Steve O'Rourke, who has a kindergartner at Warren Elementary, says his son wants to ask Maathai, "You and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. both went to jail for doing the right thing. What did it feel like to be in jail?"
"Whenever we denote something as belonging in a certain month, it becomes tempting to say it belongs in that month alone ... ," says O'Rourke. "Ideally I would like us to have a common rather than compartmentalized history."

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