Rashkis Elementary Creates a "Path to Justice"
As a wrap-up to their celebration of Black History Month, students and staff at Rashkis Elementary School (RES) created a “path to justice” based on a schoolwide read of the book, “Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream and You," by Carole Boston Weatherford. The path was built of paper “bricks” that spanned the length of the entry hallway, and the RES community spotlighted the project all day on February 28.
During preceding days, teachers read “Be a King” aloud to their students in each classroom. The book features a dual narrative, capturing key moments in Dr. King’s life alongside scenes in a modern classroom, describing students as they study the powerful life and impact of the Civil Rights hero.
“Be a King” identifies different ways that students can follow Dr. King’s footsteps and take charge of their actions in order to change the world. To honor MLK’s contributions, everyone at RES contributed to the display entitled “The Path to Justice.” Students wrote simple statements on the "bricks," stating how they hope to stand up for justice and bring Dr. King’s lessons and actions into their daily lives.
Students’ comments included: “I can be a king by asking someone who doesn’t look like me if they want to play with me,” “I can be a king by including everybody,” to “I can pick up trash on the street and throw it away” and “I can be the king of help by cheering up people if they feel sad.”
Once the bricks had all been attached to the walls, students were able to explore their peers’ statements, showing excitement and pride when they saw all the bricks in the hallway. Many children took time to read each others’ “I can be a King…” statements aloud.
Assistant Principal Christina Richardson said the school-wide book read encouraged all RES students to find a personal connection to black history, and it allowed them to understand the stories about Dr. King’s life are more current and relevant.
“I think the biggest thing is that we wanted it to be really inclusive of all of our kids, and we wanted to feel like they’re a part of history,” Richardson said. “They recognize that at Rashkis, diversity and inclusion is a part of everyday life.”